Preoperative MRI scans can have a positive impact on prostate cancer treatment, according to new research.
A study led by Dr Daniel Margolis, assistant professor of radiology at UCLA's David Geffen School of Medicine, found that MRI enables surgeons to make "more informed decisions" before surgery on prostate cancer patients.
Surgeons preparing to operate on sufferers of the disease, which is diagnosed in about 34,000 British men each year, will typically have to decide whether to use a nerve-sparing technique as part of their surgical plan.
Dr Margolis said data from MRI scans, used in tandem with existing clinical information, can help medical professionals to make the best choice.
"I think preoperative MRI will be useful for surgeons who are uncertain whether to spare or resect the nerves," he explained.
The study evaluated 104 prostate cancer patients who underwent preoperative MRI of the prostate and subsequent robotic-assisted laparoscopic prostatectomy (RALP), a treatment carried out with the assistance of a surgical robot.
It found that access to MRI data changed the decision to use a nerve-sparing technique during RALP in 27 per cent of the patients.