MRI Patient Information

What is an MRI?

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is an imaging technique that uses a powerful magnet and radiofrequency pulses to produce very detailed images of the inside of the body. The MRI scanner is a large tunnel which is open at both ends. It’s well lit and ventilated. The part of the body being scanned is placed in the centre of the scanner to obtain the images. A series of loud tapping noises are made as the machine acquires the scans. Unlike x-rays and CT scans, MRI does not use ionising radiation (x-rays). MRI is particularly useful for imaging of the brain, spine, abdominal and pelvic contents and other soft tissue structures of the body.

Before your MRI scan you will need to complete an MRI safety questionnaire. It is extremely important you answer these questions accurately so we can assess your safety to undergo MRI. Some patients have metallic or electronic implants which are not safe for MRI. The technician performing your scan will double check your MRI safety questionnaire. It is usually necessary to change into a hospital gown and to remove all jewellery (wedding bands made from gold/silver/platinum do not need to be removed), metal dentures, hearing aids, hair clips and glasses.

If there are any additional requirements for your MRI scan (for example fasting), you will be informed of these at the time of booking. Unless advised otherwise, please continue to take any regular medication.

The MRI technician will explain the procedure to you and provide you with hearing protection and an emergency buzzer which can be used at any time to communicate with the technician. Once placed into the scanner, it is very important to remain still for the duration of the scan. Movement will create blurred images and may result in additional scans being required and a longer time spent in the scanner.

It may be necessary for you to have an injection of a contrast agent (dye). The dye used in MRI is called gadolinium and it may improve the detection and identification of abnormalities in the body. For some MRI examinations, the use of the contrast agent is very important. For additional information related to the contrast agent used, please follow attached link The MRI technician will indicate how long the scan will take. This will generally be between 15-60 minutes.

A formal report will be prepared by a doctor specially trained to interpret MRI scans (Radiologist) within approximately 48hours following your scan and forwarded to your referring Doctor. It is not expected that you should have any side-effects or after effects following your MRI scan.

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