What is an MRI scan?
MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) is a scanning technique that uses a very strong magnet and radiofrequency waves to generate exquisitely detailed images of your body. It does not involve exposure to X-rays and is therefore a safe ‘radiation-free’ method of scanning.
Why would I need an MRI scan?
An MRI scan is one of the most sophisticated diagnostic tools available to help your referring clinician to understand the cause of your specific health issue.
What conditions can be diagnosed by an MRI scan?
By scanning relevant parts of your body, MRI scanning aids diagnosis of a large number of conditions:
- Sports injuries
- Spinal problems, including back pain, sciatica and injuries
- Musculoskeletal problems
- Prostate problems, including non-invasive diagnosis of prostate cancer
- Female pelvic problems, including fibroids, ovarian cysts and endometriosis
- Many conditions of the brain, including stroke, tumours, dementia and investigation of epilepsy
- Vascular abnormalities
- Some bowel conditions, including accurate evaluation of Crohn’s disease
- Ear, nose and throat (ENT) conditions
- Many abdominal ailments, including cancer diagnosis and accurate assessment of cancer spread
Who can’t have an MRI scan?
MRI scanning is very safe but due to the powerful magnetic force, certain individuals will not be scanned on safety grounds. You will be unable to have an MRI scan if you have:
- a cardiac pacemaker
- certain clips in your head from brain operations, eg aneurysm clips
- a cochlear (ear) implant
- a metallic foreign body in your eye
- recently had surgery (within 8 weeks)
If you are in the early stages of pregnancy, you should not have an MRI.
What happens during the MRI scan?
After changing, you will be escorted by the radiographer to the MRI scan room, where you will be asked to simply lie on a table which slides into the scanner. How far in depends on what what body part is being scanned. At all times you will be able to communicate with the radiographer who is undertaking your private MRI scan. The scanner itself will make a series of noises and you will be offered headphones to reduce the noise that you hear.
How long does the MRI scan take?
MRI scans take longer than CT scans to perform (usually between 30-60 mins).
How do I book a private MRI scan?
You need to ask your clinician for an MRI scan referral letter. The Guildford Radiology Group accepts referrals from Consultants, GPs, physiotherapists, osteopaths and chiropracters. Referring clinicians can click here to download an MRI scan referral form. Once we have received the referral form, a member of our team will then call you to arrange a convenient appointment.
New Siemens 3T MRI Scanner
As of 2013, our radiology practice has been significantly enhanced by direct access to a new state-of-the-art MRI scanner recently installed at the Guildford Diagnostic Imaging unit. This scanner is twice as powerful as standard MRI scanners and is therefore able to scan faster and with higher detail. The improved image clarity is particularly beneficial for conditions affecting the joints, spine and abdominal and pelvic structures. The 3T scanner is also a preferable option for anxious or claustrophobic patients as we scan much quicker without compromising image quality.