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MRI – Magnetic Resonance Imaging

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is a type of scan which uses strong magnetic field and radio waves.

What is an MRI?

During an MRI scan strong magnetic field and radio waves are used to create detailed images of the organs and tissues within the body. The scan is operated by a Radiographer who specializes in medical imaging investigations.

It can be used to diagnose or monitor a variety of conditions relating to any part of the body, including the:

  • Brain and Spinal cord
  • Joints
  • Bones
  • Heart
  • Breasts
  • Internal Organs
How is the test performed?

An MRI scanner is a cylinder shaped scanner that is open at both ends. The patient lays on a motorized bed that moves you into the scanner either head or feet first, depending on which parts of the body are being scanned.

Do I need any preparation for the test?

Preparation for the scan is dependent on the patient. In some cases, you may be asked not to eat or drink anything for up to 5 hours before the scan. You may also be advised to drink water prior to your scan, this is all depends on which area of the body is being scanned.

It is important to remove any metal objects from your body as the MRI scanner produces strong magnetic fields.

It is necessary to remove the following before having an MRI scan:

  • Jewellery
  • Piercings
  • Dentures
  • Watches
  • Hearing Aids
How long will the assessment take and when does my referrer get the results?

The scan can take anywhere between 15-90 minutes, depending on how many images are taken. Results will be sent from the radiologist to your doctor who will discuss your results with you. We aim to have the results within 2 days.

What will I feel during the test?

The MRI scan is painless; you won’t feel the magnetic field or the radio waves. You may be given a pair of noise reducing headphones as the scanner produces tapping sounds that vary in pitch and volume.

Are there any risks?

Because the MRI scanner is used using strong magnetic fields there is no radiation exposure. The magnetic field causes no risk to patients.

Is there an alternative to a MRI?

If the patient is not suitable for an MRI scan, your consultant may suggest a CT scan.

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