Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)

What is an MRI scan?

MRI stands for Magnetic Resonance Imaging. MRI scans use a strong magnetic field and low energy radio waves to create high-resolution images of selected anatomy. It highlights any relevant pathology or injury present with exquisite and precise detail.

Do I need to prepare for my MRI scan?

At the time of booking and on arrival, you must complete a safety questionnaire. This is to ensure your safety, as patients who have certain metal implants may be at risk of either damage to their implant or themselves. Many metal implants have been tested and are safe to enter the room, but others, like pacemakers, can be very dangerous.

The safety questionnaire forms a critical part of preparations for your MRI scan, and you will be asked the same questions at multiple stages during your booking to make sure you are safe to enter the room. Please be patient in answering these questions, as your safety is paramount at Qscan.

In most cases, there is no other special preparation for an MRI scan. For some specific scan applications, you may be asked to follow special instructions. If required, a staff member will advise you of this at the time of booking.

Metal objects such as watches, keys, coins, and jewellery cannot be taken into the MRI room. The magnet that powers the MRI machine is extremely powerful and can pull these objects towards it with great force or cause them to heat up, both of which have the potential to cause you serious damage.

The magnet will also erase any cards with magnetic strips such as bank or credit cards, and damage most electronic and mechanical devices, including phones and watches. Jewellery made of conductive materials is at risk of heating; some precautions can be taken if you cannot remove your jewellery. However, it is best to wear as little jewellery as possible when you arrive.

If you wear clothing with metal studs or clips, you will be asked to change into one of our gowns for your own safety. Some examinations may also require you to wear a gown to allow the MRI Radiographer to capture the best images.

You will be given a full explanation of the procedure by the Qscan MRI Radiographer performing your examination. Please feel free to ask questions if you have any concerns about this process.

What happens during an MRI scan?

The MRI machine looks like a large tube with a short tunnel through the centre. You will be asked to lie down on a movable table that slides into the opening. You will be monitored from our console room through a window where you can talk to the Radiographer by microphone between scans. There is also an emergency alarm available if you need any assistance during your scan.

The procedure is painless. An antenna, which receives image signals from your body, will be placed around the region of interest. This region will be moved to the centre of the MRI scanner for the duration of the scan. You will be provided with ear protection prior to the commencement of the scan, as the machine generates a loud rhythmic array of sounds, which can vary from 2-4 minutes at a time.

It is important you feel comfortable, calm, and relaxed, as you will be asked to remain as still as possible for the duration of the scan. This will allow the Radiographer to capture images of maximum quality.

If you are worried about feeling claustrophobic inside the MRI machine, please talk to your referring doctor beforehand. You may receive a sedative before the scan (if needed).

In some cases, a contrast material called gadolinium may be injected through an intravenous (IV) line into a vein in your hand or arm. This contrast material helps to enhance the appearance of blood flow details during the examination.

Are there any risks associated with an MRI scan?

MRI scans does not use ionising radiation and are considered very safe for patients, especially if you need multiple scans. Qscan MRI scanners use the latest available state-of-the-art technology to produce world-class MR imaging quality.

MRI itself has no known harmful effects but is not recommended during pregnancy unless under special circumstances. Contrast injections are not advised during pregnancy or while breastfeeding unless specifically required. These potential risks will be discussed if necessary.

How long will my MRI scan take?

Depending on the region being scanned, the time required to complete and set up the scan may vary from patient to patient.

MRI scans for most regions of the body should take up to 20-25 minutes once everything is prepared and set up. If you require scans for multiple regions of your body, you will be repositioned with the antenna around the new region of interest before the scanning process restarts.

How much will my MRI scan cost?

The cost of your MRI scan depends on several factors, including the type of scan that your doctor has requested, how many regions of the body require imaging, the duration of the scan(s), and the specialty of your referring doctor.

Our customer service team will be able to advise you of all costs involved with your MRI scan including any out-of-pocket costs.

Following your scan, your report and images will be sent electronically to your doctor.

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