for patients, friends and relatives
This information tells you about having an MRI scan with us (following referral by your doctor) and aims to answer any questions you might have.
Please read this information carefully and if you have any questions or concerns then contact us on 01923 844953 between the hours of 9am and 5pm, Monday to Friday.
MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) is a scanning technique which uses magnetic fields and radio waves to create images of tissues, organs and other structures inside your body. It is completely painless.
The images may be useful in diagnosing illness or in helping your doctor plan appropriate treatment for you.
The MRI scanner is a long, open-ended tube surrounded by a large circular magnet, and the couch is about 1.5 metres (5') long. You will need to be able to lie on your back on the scanning couch, which will move into the tube.
Your appointment letter tells you how to prepare for your scan. Please read it carefully and follow the instructions.
Having an MRI scan is painless. However if you do need something to calm your nerves or reduce pain, please speak to your doctor in advance and follow their advice closely. If you’ve taken a sedative, you must bring someone with you to your appointment. Please remember our staff are unable to give sedatives or painkillers.
Unless asked to do otherwise, eat and drink as normal and please take your prescribed medicines.
Please bring a dressing gown or wear metal-free clothing, and bring your favourite music on CD, MP3 player, iPod® or your mobile phone.
You will be asked to remove all metal objects from your person. A locker is available to store personal items.
Feel free to bring a friend or helper with you, although they will have to wait in the waiting room during the scan.
Please report to the reception area at Paul Strickland Scanner Centre. We will ask you to fill out a questionnaire to make sure you’re safe to be scanned.
If you’re unable to attend, please phone us as soon as possible. We try to scan patients on time, although delays are possible due to unforeseen circumstances. The centre opens at 7.30am. If you have any questions before 9am please phone 01923 844978.
Depending on the type of examination, your MRI scan may take between 15-60 minutes.
In most cases this won’t be necessary. If you are having a scan of your abdomen (stomach) or pelvis (hip area) we may give you an injection into the muscle of the leg. This helps to slow down the natural movement of the bowel for the duration of the scan and improve the image quality.
Some of the examinations we do also require a small injection of contrast medium (dye) into the arm or hand, which contains gadolinium. This is given through a cannula (small tube) and is not radioactive. It helps the radiologist (the specialist doctor who looks at your scans) to tell the difference between blood vessels and other structures. This should not cause you any after-effects.
If you have a power port, we may be able to use this instead of a cannula. However the staff will need to see evidence of the ID card for the port to ensure that it is safe and appropriate for us to use.
The injections are given by either the radiographer or a doctor.
It is very rare to react to the contrast injection. The most common side effects, if they occur, are feeling sick or vomiting, and this can occur soon after the injection. Please tell the radiographer if you experience any symptoms. If you experience any symptoms afterwards once you have left the hospital please contact either your GP or local Accident and Emergency department.
Hospital specialists or oncologists will give you the results at your next outpatient appointment. You will not be told the results of your scan at the time of your appointment.
If you don’t have a follow-up appointment, the doctor or specialist will contact you when they have the results to make an appointment if necessary.