An MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scan is a type of imaging that uses very strong magnetic fields and radio waves to produce detailed images of the inside of the body. 

What is an MRI?

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a type of diagnostic imaging that uses a magnetic field and radio waves to create detailed images of the organs and tissues within your body.  Our MRI machines are large tube-like magnets which temporarily realign the hydrogen atoms in your body while you are lying inside the MRI machine. This realignment creates cross-sectional MRI images through computer processing. 

Further processing can also be used to produce 3-D images that may be viewed from many different angles.

Safety is primary for MRI imaging. Please contact the MRI office prior to your appointment if you have or had:

  • Pacemaker
  • Artificial heart valve
  • Any heart or brain surgery
  • Worked with metal
  • Any implants, such as metal implants, electronic implants, magnetic implants etc

What happens during an MRI?

You will be asked to change into a gown and all loose metallic items must be left outside of the MRI scan room. Then you will lie on the MRI scan bed and the radiographer will position the bed inside the MRI scanner. The area of your body being examined must be in the centre of the scanner for the best quality imaging.

You will be given earphones to wear as there can be some loud tapping noises during the scan. You will also have a bell which will mean you have contact with the radiographer at all times should you have any difficulty. You should not feel any pain during the MRI scan. The most difficult part is keeping still.

An MRI scan can vary in duration depending on the area of the body being examined but it usually takes 20 to 30 minutes. If you have any queries, please contact your consultant within the hospital.

What happens after an MRI?

In most cases, you will be able to leave the Radiology Department immediately and return to normal activities.

Your images are then studied by a radiologist (doctor who uses x-rays to diagnose and treat illnesses) and the results will be sent to the doctor who referred you. 

You may already have an appointment with the doctor who referred you. If not, you may need to contact them to discuss the results and any potential treatment you may need.

If you are a hospital inpatient, the results will be available to the doctors looking after you on the ward.

Do I need to bring anything?

Please ensure you bring your completed MRI safety questionnaire.

It is advised that you wear comfortable clothing that can be easily changed if required. Minimal jewellery is also advised, as this may need to be removed depending on the type of X-ray you are having. 

Getting results

Results will be sent to your referring doctor.

Outpatients will receive results at their next outpatient appointment.

Inpatients will receive their results from their in-house doctor.

Preparation for your MRI

Most MRI scans do not require preparation. If preparation is required, you will be informed in advance on your appointment letter.

All MRI scans need a referral letter from your consultant.

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