The MRI Examination
How is the procedure performed?
You will be positioned on the moveable examination table. Straps may be used to help you stay still and maintain the correct position during imaging. Small devices that contain coils capable of sending and receiving radio waves may be placed around or adjacent to the area of the body being studied.
If a contrast material will be used in the MRI exam, a radiographer will insert an intravenous line (IV) into a vein in your hand or arm. A saline solution may be used. The solution will drip through the IV to prevent blockage of the IV line until the contrast material is injected. This helps to enhance the images usually in parts of the body which has poor natural contrast.
You’ll be given either ear defenders or ear plugs to wear because of the scanner noise and an emergency bell if you need to call the radiographer during procedure.
How long will it take and when will I get my results?
• Most scans take around 30 minutes but can take up to 1 hour, depending on the area being scanned.
• A Consultant Radiologist will examine the images shortly after your visit and a report will be available within five working days.
• A copy of the images and report will be sent to you and the report will be sent to your referrer also.
Preparation for MRI
• You do not need to fast or follow special diet unless specified.
• MRI scanners use powerful magnetic fields. Metal items can distort MRI images and may be a safety hazard if they become attracted to the magnetic field, so before your scan you must remove all external metallic and electronic items. This includes items such as watches, jewellery, hairpins, keys, coins, mobile phones and make-up such as mascara or eyeliner which may contain certain metal products. You should also remove any hair pieces with clips or wigs, dentures, make-up, spectacles and hearing aids you are wearing. All piercings must be removed.
• You should wear clothing without metal zips, fasteners, buttons, belts or buckles.
• If you are having a head or neck examination, please have dry, clean hair and wear no hair products.
Are there any risks from the Examination?
For most people, there is no danger associated with having an MRI scan. It is, however, very important, that you tell the radiologist if you have any metal implants in your body. The radiographer will therefore ask for your complete medical history and whether you have any of the following:
• implanted insulin pumps
• aneurysm clips
• vascular coils and filters
• heart valves
• ear implants
• surgical staples and wires
• shrapnel or metal fragments in the eye
• bone or joint replacements
• metal plates, rods, pins or screws
• contraceptive diaphragms or coils
• penile implants
• permanent dentures
It is also important to tell a member of the staff if you’ve had an operation recently, if you are pregnant or if you believe there is a possibility you are pregnant. If the radiographer has any concerns at all about performing the scan they may request additional information in writing from your referrer before proceeding. Please call our main booking line 0161 929 5679 if you have any queries or concerns about the above information.
Who analyses the images?
A Consultant Radiologist, who has been trained in MRI scan analysis, reviews the results of your MRI scan. The results cannot be given to you on the day because the analysis takes a relatively long time and can include a comparison with any previous MRI scans (if they have been provided).
Do I really have to keep still?
It is important that you remain still during your MRI scan as any movement causes the pictures to blur. This then makes it difficult for the radiologist to interpret the scan results. If you have any concerns about this please discuss with the radiographer on the day.