Ramsay Health Care offers convenient MRI appointments without waiting as well as quick and accurate results.
Patients often come to our local Ramsay hospitals if they don’t want to wait for their MRI scan on the NHS. They may just come to us for their scan and then return to the NHS with their results to speed up their diagnosis and treatment, or they may choose rapid access to our first-class treatment too.
We use the latest technology either onsite or via mobile imaging units. Our highly experienced radiographers are fully trained in carrying out MRI imaging investigations. They work alongside qualified radiologists who study, interpret and report on your MRI scan. They endeavour to send your MRI scan report to your referring doctor as quickly as possible to support your diagnosis and allow treatment planning.
What is MRI used for?
MRI is used to diagnose conditions, plan treatments, and see the effectiveness of previous treatments.
An MRI can be used to examine most parts of your body, including your brain and spinal cord; bones and joints; breasts; internal organs, such as your liver, kidneys, bowel, pancreas, bladder, womb and prostate gland; blood vessels and lymph nodes.
MRI and CT scans are similar in that they allow your doctor to see your internal body parts. But there are differences in these scans.
The biggest difference is that an MRI scan uses strong magnetic fields and radio waves and a CT scan uses X-rays.
CT scans are faster, less expensive and more widely used than MRIs. However, MRIs capture superior image details. A CT scan is often used for larger areas and an MRI scan tends to be used to produce a better overall image of a specific tissue under examination.
Both MRI and CT scans are relatively safe procedures.
A doctor will recommend which scan is best for you based on a range of factors. These include:
An MRI can detect problems such as:
Not all patients are suitable for an MRI Scan, and it is very important that you tell us if any of the following applies to you:
If you suffer from claustrophobia, you may need additional support during the scan. Please contact us using the number on your appointment letter if you would like to speak to a member of the team about this. There may be other imaging options available, depending on the area to be scanned.
Your appointment letter will contain any necessary instructions about eating, drinking and medication as well as a safety questionnaire that you will need to complete before the scan.
It is important that you remove all metal objects from your body before the MRI scan, this includes:
On arrival, patients are greeted by a radiographer and will be asked to remove any metal objects and you may be asked to change into a hospital gown.
The Radiographer will go through your safety questionnaire with you, and you will be able to ask any questions you may have to ensure that you feel comfortable.
For safety reasons, we don’t normally allow anyone accompanying you to come into the examination room whilst you are having your MRI scan.
You will be taken to the scanner room, where the full procedure will be explained further. You will be asked to lie down on the examination couch and made comfortable. You will be given ear plugs and headphones to help mask the noise of the scanner. It is important to lie perfectly still for the duration of the examination so that the images are not blurred.
The area of the body to be examined needs to be in the centre of the scanner, so you may enter it head or feet first. You will be given a buzzer to hold which you can press to alert the radiographer and pause the scan if necessary.
The Radiographer can see and hear you at all times during the scan and will be able to talk to you throughout the examination.
The examination consists of several sequences or scans, each lasting a few minutes with a short pause between each one. The Consultant Radiologist will have protocolled which sequences are necessary for you and the examination will usually take between 20-90 minutes, depending on the size of the area being scanned and the number of sequences.
It is sometimes necessary to supplement your examination with an injection of an MRI contrast agent or ‘dye’. This will help show up some structures within your body more clearly. The injection should not affect your ability to drive home in any way.
We may need to give you a contrast injection to increase the amount of information we can get from the scan.
MRI contrast contains gadolinium and there is an extremely low risk of having an allergic reaction to it. In the rare event that this does happen, our Radiographers and medical teams are trained to deal with any situation that may arise.
The MRI examination is quite noisy and you will be given ear protection to reduce the level of discomfort caused by this noise.
The scanner is equipped with a sound system and has the option to listen to the radio. Please advise the hospital if you wish to listen to something specific and they can let you know if this can be accommodated within the scanner.
Once the examination is completed, the images will be reported by a Consultant Radiologist and the results sent to the referring clinician (your doctor).
We are unable to discuss your results with you immediately after the examination, as your Doctor or Consultant will do this with you at your follow-up appointment.
The costs of an MRI will depend on the reason for your scan, the area of your body being scanned, and your chosen Ramsay hospital.
You will receive a formal quotation price after your consultation. This formal quote will be valid for 60 days.
Ramsay is recognised by all major medical insurers. Medical insurance policies usually cover MRI scans if they are medically necessary. We advise you to obtain written authorisation from your insurance provider before commencing your scan.
We have a number of finance options if you are paying for your MRI scan yourself. These include interest-free finance with no deposit and monthly instalments at 0% interest.
There is no recovery process after an MRI, even if you have a contrast agent, so you can go home and resume your daily activities immediately.
However, if you’ve had a sedative, you will need a lift home and an adult to stay with you for the first 24 hours. You should not drive, operate heavy machinery or drink alcohol for 24 hours after a sedative.
A flexible cystoscopy is a procedure to check for any problems in your bladder using a flexible fibre-optic telescope (cystoscope).
An ERCP (endoscopic retrograde cholangio-pancreatogram) is a procedure to look for any problems in your bile duct or pancreatic duct using a flexible telescope and x-ray dye.
A diagnostic laparoscopy is keyhole surgery performed to help find the cause of symptoms such as chronic pelvic pain and infertility and to assist your doctor to make a diagnosis.