What is an MRI?

An MRI provides detailed images of internal structures using a combination of radio frequency waves and magnetic fields. A series of images are taken through sections of your body, in any direction desired.

Unlike x-rays, which capture images of calcium-containing structures (eg. bone), an MRI detects water-containing tissues (eg. organs, ligaments, tumours).

The MRI machine uses a very strong magnetic field and radio waves to examine a specific area of your body.

What can an MRI scan diagnose?

MRI’s are an important diagnostic tool in soft tissue investigations, such as:

  • Cartilage, ligament and tendon problems
  • Disc and nerve problems in the spine
  • Tumour detection and monitoring
  • Brain examinations
  • Organ assessment

What is required to prepare for the scan?

If you require an MRI scan, you will need to schedule an appointment and answer several qualifying questions prior.

If you have one of the following, it WILL NOT be safe for you to have an MRI scan:

  • Cardiac Pacemaker
  • Cochlear Implant
  • Neurostimulator

If you have one of the following, it MAY NOT be safe for you to have an MRI scan:

  • Cerebral Aneurysm Clip
  • Metal in your eyes
  • Artificial Heart Valve
  • Pregnancy (in first 3 months)
  • Infusion Pump

Please bring any previous films with you to your appointment. All body piercings, jewellery and metal objects will need to be removed prior to your scan.

What happens during an MRI?

The MRI scan will be thoroughly explained to you by our Radiographer prior to beginning.

You will likely be asked to change into a gown to avoid accidentally taking any items in your pockets into the scan room.

You will be asked to lie on the scan table. The part of your body to be scanned will be carefully positioned and gently secured, so that you feel comfortable and are more likely to remain still. Small devices, called coils, may be positioned around the body part that is being studied. These coils are receivers, which enhance the picture quality.

Certain MRI scans require contrast to be administered through a vein in the back of your hand or your forearm. The contrast helps the Radiologist demonstrate certain areas more clearly.

The scanning process is painless. However, if you are claustrophobic please inform our staff prior to your scan as a sedative may be provided.

To ensure the quality of the images captured, it is very important to remain completely still throughout the procedure.