MRI is a scanning technique that uses a high powered magnetic field and radio frequency waves to produce exquisitely detailed images. It is a safe method of scanning which does not involve exposure to x-rays.
The patient simply lies on a table which slides into the scanner. How far in depends on what body part is being scanned. MRI scans take longer than CT scans to perform (average 15-30 minutes in the scanner) and the scanner itself can be noisy so headphones are offered and in some hospitals you can bring a CD of your own choice of music for your scan.
Magnetic Resonance Angiography (MRA)
MRI scans are particularly useful for imaging the brain and the musculoskeletal system (e.g. spine and knees) but can also be used to image the arteries when the technique is then called MRA or Magnetic Resonance Angiography.
The role of a radiologist
Apart from supervising and reporting scans, the role of radiologists is also to advise patients, general practitioners and other specialists which type of scan (ultrasound, CT or MRI) is best to answer the particular clinical concern at the time.
MRI scans are very safe for most patients
MRI scanning is very safe but there are certain exclusions on safety grounds, particularly that individuals with cardiac pacemakers should not go into an MRI scanner.
Magnetic Resonance Imaging uses a combination of a strong magnetic field and radio-waves create a detailed image of the body. The technique does not use any ionizing radiation. The overall examination time is approximately 30-60minutes. Each individual scan is in the order of 2-4 minutes. The image quality is maximised if you can remain as still as possible during each of these 2-4 minute scans.
MRI for patients with pacemakers or other conditions
It is not possible to use MRI for some patients, for example if you have a pacemaker. Patients who have a pacemaker will be asked to complete a questionnaire prior to your scan.
If you are claustrophobic, a conventional MRI scanner may not be suitable for you. Please contact CRG and we will try and find a suitable Open MRI scanner for you.
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) produces spectacularly detailed images of a wide range of body parts and conditions. There are some individuals, however, who can find a conventional MRI scanner rather claustrophobic particularly if the scan requires the head to enter the scanner.
A new range of scanners known as Open MRI scanners can overcome this. Their design is such that instead of an enclosed tunnel the scanner is completely open on both sides and at both ends largely eliminating any sensation of claustrophobia.