What is MRI scan?

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) combines the use of a very strong cylinder-shaped magnet, radio waves and a powerful computer system to measure the magnetic properties of body tissue. This information is converted into grey scale images which are used to detect differences between normal and abnormal tissue. The level of soft tissue detail seen with an MRI scan is extraordinary compared with other imaging devices.  



What is MRI scan used for?

An MRI scan is particularly useful for assessing the head and spine, abdomen and pelvis, breast and for joint and musculoskeletal problems. An MRI scan requires specialised equipment and expertise, and allows evaluation of body structures that may not be visible with other imaging methods.

The appointment generally takes between 30-60 minutes. 

Pre Examination

Before your Examination

Please phone us for an appointment.  We will discuss:

  • Details about your preparation before the scan including a period without food and drink

  • A list of safety issues including if you are pregnant, have a pacemaker, surgical clips, heart valves, prosthetic joints and the need to take your pain medication before you arrive. Click here to complete a Safety Checklist  It will automatically be sent to our MRI booking team.

  • Details about the examination itself

  • ACC and insurance queries 

  • Post examination information 

Please let us know as soon as possible if there is any reason why you cannot keep your appointment.

Upon arrival:

You will have time to read about the examination, fill out a questionnaire as well as consent forms. In addition to a drink, insertion of an intravenous line may be necessary before your scan.  A trained, experienced staff member will discuss the procedure with you. This is a good opportunity to ask any question you may have.

You will be asked to change into a gown and remove all metallic objects such as jewellery, dentures, hearing aids, etc.

Your Examination

If needed, you will have an intravenous line inserted. Our staff will position you on a bed that will gently move through the scanner, stopping to scan relevant areas.  You will be asked to remain perfectly still throughout each of the 4-5 separate scans for up to twenty minutes. If you have difficulty lying flat, or are uncomfortable in confined spaces, the MRI staff will assist and make you more comfortable.

The Medical Radiation Technologist (MRT) or radiographer will talk to you via a two-way intercom during the scan and let you know what is happening throughout. You can talk to the MRT at any time, even during the scan if you need to.  If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask. The MRI machine makes a loud tapping noise while scanning (from the MRI coil movement) however you will be able to listen to music during the scan. 

Post Examination

You will be asked to change back into your clothes and your items will be returned to you. You will be monitored for 10 minutes. You may eat or drink after your scan. There are no known side effects from the magnetic field. 

Your scan will be interpreted by the radiologist and a report sent directly to your doctor who will discuss the results with you.