MRI prior to surgery for prostate cancer may help surgeons plan better to spare erectile function, reported researchers at the Annual Meeting of the American Roentegen Ray Society.

The study, led by Timothy McClure, MD, was designed to investigate how magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the prostate might change surgical decision-making with regard to nerve-sparing robotic-assisted laparoscopic prostatectomy (RALP). Included in the study were 104 men with biopsy-proven prostate cancer who underwent preoperative MRI prior to RALP.

The findings revealed that 29 of 104 patients had the nerve-sparing technique changed because of MRI. Additionally, of patients for whom the plan was changed, 49% underwent nerve-sparing surgery and 40% had their plan changed to nonnerve-sparing surgery.

“MRI before RALP appears to help surgeons make a more informed decision with regards to the aggressiveness of nerve-sparing surgical technique without compromising the oncological outcome,” Dr. McClure concluded.