What is MRI?
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) uses a very powerful magnet and radio-frequency pulses to collect signals that are then processed by a computer to form a picture of the body part being studied. Images line up like slices from a loaf of bread.
MRI gives a detailed picture of the soft tissues of the body e.g. muscles, ligaments, brain tissue, discs and blood vessels.
In most cases there is no special preparation and you can eat and drink normally.
If you think or know that you may have problems with enclosed spaces (claustrophobia) then it is advisable to contact us prior to the scan.
There are several techniques that the technologists will employ to assist you. However, if sedation is required you will need to fast for 4 hours prior to attending and be escorted by someone who will accompany you home. You will not be permitted to drive home under any circumstances and will need to remain under observation for some time after the completion of the scan.
If you are taking any pain medication please do so such that its peak action corresponds to the intended scan time.
Other medications should be taken as normal.
Do not wear eye make-up or hairspray if you are having a head scan.
On arrival, you will be asked to complete a safety questionnaire to ensure that you are eligible to be scanned. Certain implants and metallic objects will exclude you from an MRI scan.
If you have worked in the welding industry or have ever had metal fragments in your eye then you MUST inform us so that you can have eye x-rays to ensure that no fragments remain. It is imperative to have any metal fragments removed prior to the scan.
You will be asked to change into a hospital gown to avoid any metallic objects being inadvertently taken into the scanner. You will be provided with a secure site to store your valuables including watch and wallet. Any credit cards taken into the scanner will have their magnetic strips erased.
For some examinations your heartbeat may need to be recorded by placing small patches and wires on your back and chest.
During the scanning process
Prior to the scan beginning, a special signal receiving coil may be placed around your knee, shoulder or abdomen (depending on the nature of the examination).
You will be asked to lie on a movable table which positions the body part to be imaged in the centre of the tunnel.
During the examination you will hear a series of loud knocking noises and may feel a slight vibration. Music or earplugs will be provided.
It is important that you remain as still as possible during the scan otherwise the images taken will appear blurry.
Constant communication, both verbal and visual, is maintained throughout the scan to ensure that you are comfortable and updated on the progress of your examination. If at any time you become uncomfortable, a buzzer enables you to communicate with the technologist.
Please bring any previous x-rays with you on the day of your examination