Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is a type of scan that uses a combination of strong magnetic fields and radiowaves to produce detailed images of the inside of your body. It is particularly good at identifying problems in the spine, the brain and in the joints. It is also helpful for looking at other parts of the body, often when other types of scan have not given a full picture. Unlike x-rays, MRI scans do not use radiation. At Opus Diagnostics we offer 3T scanning for high quality images. All our scans are carried out by experienced radiographers and reported by a Consultant Radiologist.
Do I need to be referred for an MRI?
Yes, you will need a referral from your Consultant, GP, Physiotherapist or another medical practitioner.
Am I suitable for an MRI scan?
Not everyone is suitable for an MRI scan. Please let us know if you have any of the following:
- cardiac pacemaker
- aneurysm clips
- cochlear implant
- replacement heart valves
- weight in excess of 200kg
- injuries involving metallic fragments in the eyes
- gunshot or shrapnel injuries
- stents or shunts
Are there any risks associated with having an MRI scan?
There are no known side effects from MRI scanning. However, we are cautious when scanning pregnant women and we do not scan anyone in their first trimester. Please inform your referring Consultant or your radiographer if you believe you may be pregnant.
Before your MRI scan
It’s important that you arrive 10 minutes before your scan, so that there is enough time to complete the screening process and to make sure it is safe to do your scan. You may eat and drink as normal before your scan, unless you are told otherwise. If you do need to fast, you will be advised of this when making the appointment.
When you arrive at the clinic, you will be asked to fill in a safety questionnaire about your medical history and will be asked to sign a consent form. You will then be taken to the changing rooms where you will be asked to remove your jewellery, and you may also be asked to get changed into a hospital gown. Before you enter the scan room the radiographer will go through your safety questionnaire with you.
During your MRI scan
The scan is not painful, but you will have to lie still for up to 20 minutes on a relatively hard surface. The radiographers will do their best to make you feel comfortable. If you have any pain or discomfort that could lead to difficulties with the scan, please tell the radiographer beforehand. It is important that you keep as still as possible whilst the scan is taking place.
You will hear a variety of loud noises which are made by magnetic coils that switch on and off during the scan. These coils measure the signal coming from your body in order to create the images. We provide patients with ear defenders that help reduce this noise. You may listen to music or to the radio during your scan. You are welcome to bring a CD or playlist with you, if you would prefer.
The scanner is open at both ends, and our modern scanner is much shorter and wider than older models, but some people may find this experience claustrophobic. If you are worried about this, please discuss this with us before you arrive for your scan.
The radiographer will be able to see you from the control room and you can talk to each other through an intercom. You will be given an emergency call bell to squeeze if you need to stop the scan.
MRI Scans can take between 15 minutes and an hour. If your scan is going to take longer, you will be told this when your appointment is made.
After your MRI scan
There is no aftercare needed once the scan is complete. You may eat and drink normally afterwards, unless you have been told otherwise. You will be given a disc containing your examination images to take away with you.
Your images will be available immediately on our image viewing system for your Consultant to view. A Consultant Radiologist will provide a formal report within 24-48 hours. All patient information is protected and stored using the strictest security measures.
About our MRI Scanner
At Opus Diagnostics we have a Canon Vantage Galan 3T MRI scanner. It provides superior image quality while also incorporating the following advantages:
Our 3T MRI scanner is designed to maximize patient comfort without compromising image quality. It’s 71 cm wide bore aperture allows larger patients to be imaged comfortably and efficiently. This is significant because most other MRI scanners will only support patients up to 60cm, therefore we are one of the few centres in the country to offer ‘wide bore’ MRI to patients.
Our scanner is supported by acoustic shielding technology which significantly reduces the noise by up to half the level of other scanners., making the experience more comfortable. Patients will experience the effect of noise reduction in and around the MRI environment.
In 2018, Canon Medical Systems UK announced a sustainable milestone offsetting 20,000 tonnes of CO2 from ultrasound, X-ray, CT or MRI systems installed into UK hospitals over the past 3.5 years. Achieving this carbon offset milestone meant that not only was it the only UK medical equipment provider to be a carbon neutral business meeting all PAS2060 requirements by the British Standards Institute, but also that the scheme had helped more than 22,000 people, including 12,000 children, in rural Uganda and Kenya.