An MRI scan is an advanced imaging technique that uses radio waves in the presence of a strong magnet to produce highly detailed images of particular areas of the body.
MRI scans, unlike X-rays and CT scans, do not use radiation.
Most MRI scans require no preparation. Should special preparation (for example, fasting for an MRI scan of the abdomen) be required, you will be advised at the time of booking.
On the day of your scan, please bring any previous relevant scans that were not performed at North Shore Radiology and Nuclear Medicine with you. The radiologist may use these for comparison purposes.
You will generally be asked to change into a gown and provided with a locker for your valuables to be stored.
If you are taking pain medication, please do so before your arrival for your scan. This will assist you to remain still during the procedure.
Whilst our MRI scanners at North Shore Radiology and Nuclear Medicine are ‘wide-bore’; some patients may benefit from the use of a sedative if they suffer from claustrophobia. Sedation must be arranged prior to the day of your scan. Please discuss this further with our bookings staff when making your appointment.
Most types of MRIs take about 15 to 90 minutes to complete. In some cases, your MRI might be shorter or longer. The part of your body getting scanned and the number of images needed to play a role in determining how long the MRI will take.
The MRI radiographer (the technician responsible for undertaking your scan) will explain the procedure to you before positioning you on the MRI couch for your scan. You will be provided with earplugs and/or headphones. You will also be provided with an emergency buzzer so that you may contact the radiographer at any time during your scan if you require.
Usually, an additional piece of equipment is placed close to the scanned area. The body part being examined is then placed into the middle of the scanner.
You will hear a combination of tapping and banging noises as the scanner acquires the data to build the images. The MRI scan is very sensitive to patient movement. For this reason, it is very important to remain as still as possible throughout the examination.
It is sometimes necessary to administer an injection of a special MRI contrast agent called Gadolinium. This will provide additional information to assist the radiologist with reading your scan.
Unless you have had sedation, you can carry on the rest of your day as usual after your scan. You may drive, eat and drink normally.
The results of your scan will be sent directly to your referring doctor. Should you require your results to go to another doctor, please let our reception staff know, and they will assist with this. Generally, most referring doctors can access your images and report online for review and assessment.
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