MRI is a medical imaging procedure that uses strong magnetic fields and radio waves to produce cross-sectional images of organs and internal structures in the body.
MRI pictures show the soft tissues of the body (arteries, muscles, nerves, brain, discs, ligaments etc.).
In many situations MRI offers unique information to plan your treatment and care.
MRI is located in the haste wing on Level B and can be accessed internally through outpatients department 4. This is an NHS MRI scanner.
We also use private providers to meet the service demands; they are based on site near St. Luke’s building.
Radiographers are specially trained healthcare professionals who operate radiology equipment. It will be the radiographer who performs your scans.
The radiographer may also cannulate, if your scan requires an injection of contrast media.
Radiography is regulated by health care professions council.
More information about radiographers can found at www.sor.org/about-radiography/patient-information
RDAs assist with daily running of the MRI unit. You might see them when you are booking in for your scan.
A radiologist is a medical doctor who specializes in diagnosing and treating disease and injury through the use of medical imaging techniques such as x-rays, computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), positron emission tomography (PET), fusion imaging, and ultrasound.
It is unlikely that you will see a radiologist during your visit to the MRI unit.
You may wear normal clothes as long as it is metal free. Depending on which part of your body is being scanned, you may need to wear a hospital gown for the procedure.
If you do not need to wear a gown, you should wear clothes without metal zips, fasteners, buttons, underwire (bras), belts or buckles.
Body and ear piercings will most likely need to be removed for your scan as could heavy make-up including mascara as they can have metallic elements in the ingredients.
Most MRI scans are about 30 minutes, however can be more than an hour depending on the area we need to cover and the type of scan to be done.
You may bring someone with you while you are having your scan if you wish but it is not essential.
We have a waiting area where those accompanying you may wait whilst you having your scan, however it is not supervised so children need to be looked after by an adult.
For some MRI scans you may need to be nil by mouth for 4-6 hours before coming for your appointment (MRCP).
Scans for the small bowel may drink only clear fluids on the day. For certain cardiac scans you will be asked not to drink any tea, coffee (decaffeinated or caffeinated) cola, fizzy drinks, energy drinks, and chocolate for 24 hours.
For most scans we ask you to come 15 minutes before your appointment time to do the necessary safety checks and get you ready for scans.
On the day of your MRI scan you should be able to eat, drink and take any medication as usual, unless advised otherwise.
You will find more detailed information in your appointment letter.
If a translator is needed, please contact the department with the necessary requirements prior to the appointment.
Some MRI scans involve having an injection of contrast dye. This shows certain tissues and blood vessels more clearly and in greater detail.
It’s possible for contrast dye to cause tissue and organ damage in people with severe kidney disease.
If you have a history of kidney disease, you may be given a blood test to determine how well your kidneys are functioning and whether it is safe to proceed with the scan.
For some scans we need to give an injection of a muscle relaxant called Buscopan® for the bowel so there is less movement on the MRI images.
A side effect of this drug is that it can blur your vision for up to 30 minutes following the injection; it is recommended that if you have driven to the hospital you should wait until your vision has returned to normal.
The radiographer will explain the procedure to you when you come to the scanning room. They will also ask some questions to make sure you are suitable for the scans with injections.
The radiographer will usually insert a cannula in to your arm/hand.
When the contrast is injected you might get warm feeling.
You will be provided with an alarm bell just in case if need us or don’t feeling well during the injection.
MRI scans are not reported while you are at the MRI Unit. A radiologist will send the results to the doctor who referred you to us.
The radiographers will not be able to discuss the results with you and the follow up appointments are arranged by the specialist where necessary.