magnetic resonance imaging


What is the difference between a CT and an MRI scan?

Both MRI and CT scans provide detailed pictures of areas of the body that used to be inaccessible by conventional x-rays. They use a sophisticated computer system to make cross-sectional pictures of areas of the body being scanned. The major difference between CT and MRI, is that an MRI uses a large magnet and radio waves to produce images, whereas a CT scanner uses x-rays. There is, therefore, no exposure to x-rays in an MRI scan.
Because MRI scanning is very sensitive to movement during the scanning procedure, CT scanning can be preferable in some circumstances if the patient is unable to stay still.

Why do you need my previous x-rays, CT and MRI scans?

The more information that our radiologist has when he/she reviews the results of your MRI scan, the more specific the interpretation will be. Correlations with other MRI scan results can be helpful.

What if I am claustrophobic?

As there is little room inside the tunnel, people who suffer from severe claustrophobia sometimes have problems with MRI scans. Please do let the radiographers know if this might be a problem, before the day of your appointment. If necessary, you should arrange for your doctor to prescribe a sedative prior to the examination as we are unable to provide sedation at the appointment. If sedation is required you will need to arrange for someone to drive you to and from the appointment.
If your radiographer knows you are nervous, he/she will take extra care in making sure you are comfortable during your MRI scan. He/she will be able to see you at all times through a large window and will also be able to talk to you and listen to you through an intercom system. You will be able to communicate with the radiographer by pressing the button of the intercom system.
Keeping your eyes closed throughout the scan can sometimes help.

How should I dress for the examination?

It is recommended that you dress in light cotton clothing which does not contain metal such as zippers, metal buttons etc. You will be offered a cotton robe which you can wear for the examination if you arrive with inappropriate clothing.

All jewelry must be removed including any piercings.

May I bring a friend or relative with me?

Yes and in special circumstances, we can allow your friend or relative to accompany you into the MRI Scanning room. Also, if you need a sedative, you will need someone to take you home after the MRI scan.

Do I need to be referred by my doctor?

Yes. A referral is required from a doctor or other healthcare professional .

What are MRI scans used for?

The development of MRI allows the examination of the human body accurately using a non-invasive tool without potentially harmful radiation.
The following are just some of the examples where an MRI scan is used:

•  Abnormalities of the brain and spinal cord.
•  Tumours, cysts , and other abnormalities in various parts of the body.
•  Injuries or abnormalities of the joints, such as back pain.
•  Certain types of heart problems.
•  Diseases of the liver and other abdominal organs.
•  Causes of pelvic pain in women (e.g. fibroids, endometriosis).
•  Suspected uterine abnormalities in women undergoing evaluation for infertility.

Diagnostic Healthcare Excellence in the field of Diagnostic Imaging