Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) Scans

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1 Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) Scans Patient Information Radiology Department Author ID: ST Leaflet Number: Rad 004 Version: 3 Name of Leaflet: MRI Scan Date Produced: March 2015 Review Date: March 2017 MRI Scan Page 1 of 5

2 If this information does not answer your questions, please contact the MRI Suite where a Radiographer will be pleased to help you: Department of Radiology Royal Albert Edward Infirmary Wigan Lane, Wigan WN1 2NN Telephone Monday to Friday, 8:30am to 5:00pm Please contact the MRI Suite on receipt of your appointment if any of the following apply to you: Heart Pacemaker Intra-cranial vessel clips/coils Metal splinters in eyes Artificial Heart Valve A possibility of pregnancy Internal electronic devices If any of the above applies to you we may have to defer your scan until we gather more information about your medical history. What is an MRI scanner? An MRI scanner is a complex imaging machine containing a large open ended tube. It is used to help diagnose disease and injury. A Radiographer will perform your scan. Radiographers are highly skilled health care professionals who perform all types of diagnostic imaging, some specialise in MRI. How does it work? MRI scanners produce a powerful magnetic field, which, with the aid of radio waves and complex computer technology, are able to produce pictures of the internal structure of the body. Is it safe? MRI scanners are safe and they do not use x-rays. The powerful magnetic fields used mean that some people with certain magnetic or electronic objects in or on them cannot be scanned. What does it show? An MRI scanner produces pictures of your body in cross section, rather like cutting through a tree trunk to view its rings. How long does a scan take? An average scan takes about minutes but this will vary from patient to patient depending on what is being scanned. Plan to be with us for about 90 minutes maximum to allow us to perform extra scans on you if needed. We may have to accommodate emergency cases that will need to be scanned out of turn which may mean you have to wait a little longer than anticipated. MRI Scan Page 2 of 5

3 Are there any side effects? There are no known adverse side effects from a clinical MRI scan and you can continue to take normal medication. Will it hurt? No. If your condition makes it difficult to lie flat and still during your scan, the Radiographers will do their best to make you as comfortable as possible. What will I be required to do during my scan? On your arrival you will be asked some questions to make sure it is safe to scan you. You will be asked to change into a hospital gown and to lock any valuables, electronic devices or metal objects in a secure locker. The Radiographers will tell you exactly what to do. Basically it will involve merely lying still and not moving. You may be asked to hold your breath for a few seconds for some scans. Will I need an injection? Occasionally depending on your condition an injection may be required to provide clearer pictures and to give the Radiologist extra information in order to provide a full and comprehensive report about your scan. If an injection is required it will usually be given by a Radiographer in a vein in the arm. There are no major adverse side effects. When will I get the results? You will not get your results straight away. Many pictures will be taken of you (anything from 50 to 100). These will need to be carefully studied by a Radiologist after you leave. The results will be sent to your referring Doctor who will inform you of the results at a follow up appointment. Is it very noisy? An MRI scanner can be noisy (repetitive knocking noises) when performing certain types of scan. However, the Radiographers will offer you ear plugs or headphones to reduce the noise you will hear to an acceptable level. Is it claustrophobic? You will be required to lie in the centre of the scanner (magnet). It is open ended and brightly lit. About 1% of patients may feel claustrophobic during their scan, however the Radiographers are skilled at putting you at ease and making you as comfortable as possible. Many patients find the experience very relaxing. MRI Scan Page 3 of 5

4 What does the scanner look like? If you cannot attend your appointment, please contact the MRI Suite so that we can offer your appointment to somebody else. We will be glad to offer you an alternative appointment and will try our best to accommodate you at a date and time suitable to you. Please allow plenty of time to park your car. MRI Scan Page 4 of 5

5 Comments, Compliments or Complaints The Patient Relations/Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) Department provides confidential on the spot advice, information and support to patients, relatives, friends and carers. Contact Us Tel: (Monday to Friday 9am to 4pm) The Patient Relations/PALS Manager Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh NHS Foundation Trust Royal Albert Edward Infirmary Wigan Lane Wigan WN1 2NN In addition to the Patient Relations/PALS Service, you can contact HELPline on This leaflet is also available in audio, large print, Braille and other languages upon request. For more information call Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh NHS Foundation Trust All rights reserved. Not to be reproduced in whole or in part without the permission of the copyright owner MRI Scan Page 5 of 5

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