Frequently Asked Questions

What is MRI Scanning?

MRI is a painless and harmless way of looking inside your body without using X-rays. It uses a large magnet, radio waves and a computer to scan the body and produce detailed pictures. This provides images which are not available by using conventional X-Rays.

How does MRI work?

Your body is made up of small particles called atoms. Hydrogen atoms make up around 95% of body mass and are a major component of water. When you are under the scanner all the atoms line up facing the same direction. When the radio wave is switched on this causes the atoms to spin in different directions and give off a signal. The computer collates the signal and a detailed image of the body is formed.

What do I have to do during an MRI scan?

You will need to lie still on a comfortable table under the magnet. The scanner will make a repetitive knocking sound. The Open scanner is a lot less noisy than the traditional closed scanner. You are in contact with the radiographer throughout the scan which takes approximately 30 minutes. You can bring a CD to listen to during the scan.

How do I prepare for the MRI scan?

You may be asked to change into a gown as zips and clips in clothing will interfere with the images. All watches and credit cards must be removed before entering the scanning room as they might be damaged by the magnetic field. All metallic objects such as hairclips, hearing aids, jewellery etc. will need to be removed. Ladies are asked to use little or no make up for head or neck scans. There is no need to stop medication for the scan and you can eat and drink as normal, unless otherwise instructed.

When should an MRI scan not be done?

It is not possible to have an MRI scan if patients have

  • A heart pacemaker
  • Certain metallic heart valves
  • Surgical aneurysm clips
  • Metallic fragments in the eyes or the head
  • If you are pregnant

When will I find out the results of my MRI scan?

The results of the scan will be sent directly to the referring clinician within 7 days from the time of the scan.

When should I arrive for my appointment?

You should arrive at the clinic 15 minutes before your appointment. Please bring any x-rays or scans that you have been asked to bring.

What should I do if I have any queries?

Please call our reception desk on 0191 281 2636 and we will be able to give you any extra information that you require.

I’m having an arthrogram, what does that mean?

An arthrogram is a picture of a joint following an injection of medication. Depending on which part of the body is to be examined, you may be asked to undress and put on a gown. The radiologist who will perform the arthrogram will clean the skin with a sterilising solution and after injecting local anaesthetic, will inject the medication into the joint. The MRI will then take place which will take between 20-30 minutes. We advise that you do not drive immediately after an arthrogram.

I’m having a nerve root injection, what does that mean?

A nerve root injection is an injection into the sheath surrounding a nerve root. This is carried out to decrease pain and define the root more precisely. The process involves lying on your abdomen in a comfortable position whilst a local anaesthetic in injected into the area of your back that is to be examined. The correct area is then found using a x-ray imaging and a steroid injected through a needle. There may be some pressure or pain with this procedure and the doctor will want to know how this discomfort compares to your usual pain or symptoms. Following the procedure, a nurse will take you to a room to rest for as long as it is necessary to recover. You must be accompanied home and you must not drive home from the clinic.

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