MRI Scan (Magnetic Resonance Imaging)
MRI is a sophisticated method of producing detailed images of the body’s internal structures.
It is amongst the most advanced imaging technique developed to date. MRI uses a very strong magnetic field and radio waves and thus avoids the use of X-Rays.
Preparing for your MRI examination
On the day of your examination, you may eat, drink, and take any prescribed medication as normal (unless otherwise instructed).
On arrival patients are greeted by a radiographer and will be asked to remove any metal objects including hairpins, glasses, wigs, non - permanent dentures and jewellery (but not plain gold wedding bands). If possible it is best to leave any valuables at home. Watches and credit cards will be damaged by the magnetic field and must be removed.
You may be asked to change into a gown or tracksuit. Female patients may also have to remove bras and any eye make-up. In general if clothing does not contain any metal fastenings or excessive quantities of lycra then it may not have to be changed.
The MRI examination
You will be taken to the scanner where the full procedure will be completely explained further. You will be asked to lie down on the examination couch and made comfortable. It is important to lie perfectly still for the duration of the examination. Patient movement is the biggest single cause of an unsuccessful scan.
The couch will then be positioned into the centre of the magnet. Once you are in position, nothing else will move or touch you. we require nothing more for you other than that you remain motionless as possible.
The examination will usually take between 20-30 minutes depending on the area being scanned and the protocol requested by the Consultant Radiologist.
However, do not be alarmed if your examination takes a little longer. It is sometimes necessary to supplement your examination by the injection of an ’MRI dye’. This will help show up some structures more clearly. The injection should not affect you for your ability to drive home in any way.
MRI is one of the safest diagnostic imaging methods available with no known risks or side effects. However, certain patients may not be safe to scan.
If you have, or suffer from, any of the following please contact the X-Ray Department at least 3 working days before your examination.
- Have you ever had any metal fragments in your eyes at any time?
Do you have any metallic implants within your body such as :
- Artificial Heart Valves or a Cardiac Pacemaker
- Cerebral aneurysm clips (sometimes used during brain surgery)
- Any medical devices or stimulators
- Can you lie flat comfortably?
- Do you suffer from claustrophobia?
Whilst MRI is certainly safer than most other imaging techniques (because it does not use X-Rays) it is still not recommended for women in the first three months of pregnancy.
If you have any concerns about safety, please do not hesitate to contact your nearest Ramsay hospital.
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. Please bring with you a favourite CD to listen to. The scanner has a small selection of CDs for those with no particular musical preferences.
Your scan results
Once the examination is completed, the images will be reported and the results sent to the referring clinician (your doctor).
The results will not be available instantly. Your doctor will be able to discuss the scan results with you and answer any questions you may have.