SSM Health SLU Hospital offers new prostate cancer screening tool

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Fusion guided biopsy combines MRI and ultrasound to produce 3D image of the prostate

Specialists at SSM Health Saint Louis University Hospital have a new alternative for prostate cancer screening fusing MRI and ultrasound that studies show has a higher detection rate than traditional methods.

Called image navigated prostate biopsy or fusion guided biopsy, urologists “fuse” images obtained through MRI with those gathered through ultrasound. The overlaid MRI image combined ultrasound gives a 3-D ultrasound/MRI view. Urologists can use the fused image to guide the biopsy needles precisely to lesions.

Studies have found the technology can more accurately locate suspicious areas and help diagnose prostate cancer.

“This is an exciting development in prostate cancer detection,” says Sameer Siddiqui, MD, division chief of urological surgery at SLUCare and SSM Health Saint Louis University Hospital. “Traditional biopsy can be difficult for the patient and this alternative can lead to more accurate, less painful biopsies.”

Traditional methods of prostate cancer screenings such as prostate-specific antigen (PSA) tests and digital rectal exams (DRE) can lead to many uncertainties for both patient and urologist. Those tests can lead to prostate biopsy, the most reliable method of detection. However, they can be challenging because of the difficulties in visualizing not only the entirety of the prostate, but also the location of the biopsy needle.

Trans-rectal ultrasound-guided prostate biopsy (TRUS), the current biopsy standard, commonly suffers from poor image resolution, and the biopsy needle often passes through tumor-free areas of the prostate - potentially missing the tumor entirely.

“Combining MRI and ultrasound gives specialists almost a GPS system for prostate detection,” says Dr. Siddiqui.

The SSM Health Medical Minute airs every Thursday at 7 PM on KPLR News 11 and at 9 PM on KTVI Fox 2 News.

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