Our first concern is to make sure that it’s safe for you to have an MRI scan. We’ll ask you some basic health questions when you book and you’ll be required to complete a questionnaire before your appointment. Unless we let you know otherwise, you don't need to make any special preparations before the MRI scan. You can eat and drink as normal and take any prescribed medicine. It is important that you wear comfortable clothing without zips or metal buttons. You can use a changing room and secure lockers to leave your personal belongings; however we suggest that you leave any unnecessary item at home if possible. If requested, please confirm your appointment by phone before your MRI scan and arrive in plenty of time. Please let us know if you have any disabilities so that we can ensure we are able to offer you the highest quality service. You’re welcome to bring a friend or a relative with you, but for safety reasons they will not be allowed into the examination room.
Once you’ve checked in at reception (don’t forget to bring your appointment letter), a member of the radiography team will meet you, explain the procedure and go through your safety questionnaire with you. We might ask you to change into a hospital gown. We’ll provide somewhere to store your personal possessions. You’ll be looked after by the radiography team throughout the procedure – they will explain what’s happening and will be there if you experience any discomfort. You’ll have the opportunity to ask any questions about the scanning process. If requested by the referring clinician we might need to give you an injection (known as a contrast medium) to increase the amount of information we can get from the MRI scan, depending on the area we're scanning.
The examination usually consists of several separate scans, each lasting a few minutes with a short pause between each. The whole procedure can take between 20 minutes and one hour – depending on which part(s) of the body need to be studies. We’ll ask you to lie down on the scanner bed and we'll make sure you're comfortable so you can stay as still as possible. With magnetic resonance imaging you won’t feel anything other than mechanical noise from the equipment. We’ll provide you with some ear defenders or ear plugs to minimise the discomfort. For safety reasons, we don’t normally allow anyone accompanying you to come into the examination room whilst the scan is in progress.
There are no restrictions on normal activity – you can eat and drink normally, drive and return to work immediately after the MRI scan. If we’ve given you a contrast injection we will check you before you leave the scanner. A Radiologist will examine the images shortly after your visit and send a report to your Clinician or Doctor, normally within a few days. For ethical and professional reasons, we cannot discuss results with you. Only your Clinician or Doctor can do this.