What is MRI?
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is a modern scanning technique which produces cross-sectional images of very high quality.
- It does not use ionising radiation (x-rays)
- There are no known side effects
How does it work?
The scanner uses a strong magnetic field together with radiowaves and a powerful computer to produce images of the body.
Although there are no known side effects associated with MRI, there are certain people who we cannot scan for safety reasons. These are people with pace makers, metal fragments in their eyes, surgical clips or certain other types of implants and women who are in the early stages of pregnancy. For this reason we ask them to fill in a Medical Safety Questionnaire before their appointment. It is very important that they accurately answer and complete the questionnaire prior to their appointment.
Preparation for an MRI scan
We request that when a patient attends their MRI appointment that they come appropriately dressed in comfortable metal free clothing - jogging bottoms or leggings and tee shirt. A patient gown will be provided if necessary. All jewellery, loose metallic items, body piercing and electrical devices must be removed prior to the examination. A secure locker is provided for patient personal belongings during their visit. A patient may continue to eat and drink up to the time of their scan and should continue to take all of their usual medications. The patients visit to the MRI department will run smoothly if they follow the preparation advice.
When the patient arrives
The patient is requested to arrive 15 minutes prior to their appointment time allowing for a member of the MRI staff to check their safety questionnaire, clothing and go through the procedure with them.
The MRI scan
For the scan the patient will be lying on a padded table which allows the radiographer to position them and move the area to be scanned into the magnet opening. They will be provided with a communication button and headphones through which music may be played. During the scan the patient may hear a rhythmic drumming noise coming from the magnet of about five minutes duration followed by a quiet interval. Typically most examinations consist of four or five such periods. The radiographer performing the scan is able to talk to the patient during the quiet intervals of the scan.
After the scan
The scan will be read by a Radiologist and a report sent back to the referring Consultant. The patient will then see their Consultant to get the results.