What is an MRI scan?
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) makes use of the magnetic properties of the hydrogen atoms which occurs naturally in water and fat in the body. A strong magnetic field and radio waves produce images from the hydrogen in the body. MR images provide different information from x-rays and CT scans. MRI can be used to image most parts of the body. MRI does not use X-rays.
What happens during an MRI scan?
An MRI scan is normally carried out as an outpatient procedure. Patients lie on a table which is moved into the bore of the scanner for the images to be taken. An MRI scan takes longer than an x-ray or CT and the scanner will make a variety of loud noises so you will be asked to wear earplugs and headphones. We have a selection of music to help you relax or you can bring your own CD or MP3 player if you wish.
The radiographers operating the scanner will ensure that you are as comfortable as possible and will be able to see and hear you during the procedure. You will be given a call button to hold during the scan which you can get the radiographers attention at any time...
It takes between 3-5 minutes for each sequence of images to be taken and it’s important to lie very still during the scan. The average scan is between 15 and 45 minutes depending on the type of examination. When the scan is complete, the table will be moved back out from the scanner and the radiographer will help you get down from the table.
Sometimes a contrast dye may be used to make certain things show up more clearly. The contrast is usually given as an injection into the vein in the arm or hand during the scan and will be passed out naturally in the urine.
Preparing for an MRI scan
Before your scan you will be asked to complete a safety screening questionnaire to ensure that it is safe for you to have a scan. It is very important that you complete this thoroughly and accurately and the Radiographers will go through this with you and double check everything.
Apart from the safety screening form most MRI scans have no particular preparation other than to remove all metal objects such as watches and jewellery and to change into a dressing gown. If you are having a cardiac, abdominal or pelvic scan you may be asked to follow dietary or fasting preparation instructions.
If you have any concerns about the safety screening or any other aspect of your scan it is best to talk to one of our MRI Radiographers.
The Montefiore Hospital has invested in a MAGNETOM Aera MRI scanner made by Siemens. This is one of the most sophisticated models available, incorporating the ground-breaking combination of Tim® 4G's integrated coil technology and DOT scanning which allows examinations to be tailored to individual patients' needs.
The MAGNETOM Aera has been designed to improve patient comfort, with a wider aperture and the ability to offer more head-out examinations, making it easier for patients who are anxious about being inside a scanner.
Having an MRI scan at The Montefiore Hospital
At The Montefiore Hospital you can be treated even if you don't have private medical insurance. With a fixed price agreed in advance you can pay for one-off private treatment when you need it. Please note; a referral is required before we can book an MRI scan.
For more information or to book an appointment, please call our diagnostics team on 01273 828 088.
Cardiac MRI scanning
The Montefiore Hospital also offer specialist cardiac MRI scans for patients. Find out more about Cardiac MRI by clicking here.