Imaging assessment of local recurrence of prostate cancer after radical prostatectomy

Michael J. Magnetta, David Casalino, Matthew T. Heller*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Definitive therapy for prostate cancer includes radical prostatectomy and radiation therapy. Treatment is elected based on patient preference, biological tumor factors, and underlying health. Post prostatectomy, men are surveyed for disease recurrence with serial PSA measurements, digital rectal exam, and imaging studies depending on nomogram predicted risk of local disease recurrence and distant metastasis. In men with rising PSA levels, pathologically incomplete surgical margins or, if symptoms of metastasis develop, imaging may be obtained to localize disease. In cases of known biochemical recurrence, imaging is used to target biopsy, to contour in salvage radiation therapy and to assess disease response. For local disease recurrence, the most commonly performed exams are pelvic MRI and transrectal US. CT can evaluate for lymph node metastasis, but is suboptimal in the evaluation of the prostatectomy bed. PET/CT and PET/MRI have been used successfully to evaluate for local disease recurrence. The PI-RADSv2.1 manual provides a risk level and lexicon for use in description of prostate carcinoma prior to prostatectomy, but does not address imaging features post-surgery. A detailed description of nodal, bony, and visceral metastasis is given elsewhere. This manuscript outlines the context in which appropriate imaging exams may be obtained and focuses on imaging findings concerning for local disease recurrence after prostatectomy on various imaging modalities including CT, US, MRI, and PET.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4073-4083
Number of pages11
JournalAbdominal Radiology
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2020


  • Cancer
  • Prostate
  • Prostatectomy
  • Recurrence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Gastroenterology
  • Urology


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