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MRI is a type of diagnostic imaging which uses powerful magnets and radio waves to produce detailed images of the inside of your body. MRI is widely used for scans because the images are so detailed, even small changes to an injury or disease can sometimes be picked up.
We understand that having an MRI scan may be daunting so our experienced Radiographers use a modern, wide, scanner which is more comfortable and less noisy.
MRI scanning uses a large powerful magnet, radio waves and an advanced computer to take incredibly detailed and accurate images of the relevant part of your body. It’s a popular and safe technique because the pictures are so detailed and accurate that the Radiologist can see even small changes.
An MRI scan can often help in the early detection of an injury or disease. It allows a very detailed assessment of the soft tissues including muscles, ligaments and tendons. MRI allows imaging in three planes, making it superior to any other imaging technique for assessing musculoskeletal problems.
At your appointment, you’ll meet a Radiographer - an expert in MRI scanning. Your Radiographer will be with you through the whole process, from explaining the scan and answering your questions beforehand, to performing the scan itself.
Our scans range from 15 minutes for the quickest scan to over an hour for the longest. How long it takes is dependent on the scan that you need and which parts of your body need scanning.
During the scan, you’ll be lying on the table inside the scanner. You must lie as still as possible so that we can get the best possible images.
The area of your body to be scanned needs to be in the centre of the scanner, so you may enter it head or feet first, and parts of your body may remain outside the scanner. You’ll be given a buzzer to hold which you can press anytime to stop the scan, for example, if you feel uncomfortable or claustrophobic. We’ll also give you headphones to wear for the duration of your scan; this is so you can hear the Radiographer when they talk to you and so that you can listen to music if you’d like to.
Please contact us on the number on your appointment letter if you think claustrophobia may be a problem for you. There may be other options available, depending on the type of scan and area of the body to be scanned.
Once your scan is done, you’ll be able to leave and carry out your normal activities. A Radiologist will examine the images and the results will be sent to your referring clinician.
Before your scan you can usually eat and drink as normal and take any prescribed medication as usual. However, our team will advise you of any particular instructions that you’ll need to follow.
Please remove all jewellery prior to your arrival, including all piercings. When you arrive in the department, you'll be asked to change into a hospital gown prior to your scan, for safety reasons. If you’re wearing an underwired bra, we’ll ask you to remove it.
You won’t feel any pain during the scan, but some patients feel uncomfortable having to lie still for a long time. You’ll hear quite loud mechanical sounds from the MRI scanner, but we’ll give you headphones or earplugs to wear.
Your Radiographer can always see and hear you during your scan and will be able to talk to you throughout the scan, using an intercom.
For some MRI scans, an injection of special dye may be needed to ensure we get the clearest scan. This depends on the area being scanned and what we need to see. A small percentage of people may have a minor reaction to this injection. If you have any concerns about this, please contact us on the number on your appointment letter.