Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
WHAT IS MAGNETIC RESONANCE IMAGING?
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a type of scan that produces extremely detailed images of the inside of the body using magnetic fields and radio waves. It is useful for visualisation of abnormalities within the abdomen.
This scan takes place in the Radiology Department and you should always refer to them if you have any queries, as they will be able to give you absolutely up to date information. The link below will take you to their information site:
However you may find this overview useful.
WHO CAN HAVE AN MRI?
MRI scans are painless and safe. However they are not suitable for everyone. You will be asked about your medical history before the scan, but you should inform the Radiology Department as far in advance as possible if you have:
- A heart pacemaker or sacral nerve stimulator (which can be damaged by the magnetic field)
- Any other metal object in your body (examples would be shrapnel due to injury, any type of implant containing metal, surgical staples or clips, articifial heart valves, intra-uterine device, metallic tooth fillings)
- Had a heart or brain operation
- Kidney problems
- Are, or could be, pregnant (though this does not mean you cannot have a scan)
WHY HAPPENS DURING THE TEST?
There is no special preparation for your MRI scan, but you should wear clothes without any metal parts (for example zips, buttons or underwires) and remove jewellery as metallic objects get very hot within the scanner.
You will be given earplugs or headphones to wear as the scanner makes loud rattling noises.
You may be given an injection of Buscopan or glucagon to slow down the normal movements of your bowel, which can blur the pictures.
The radiographer will ask you to lie on a flat bed which moves slowly into the main body of the scanner, which is a large doughnut-shaped machine. You will be given a buzzer, and you can stop the scan at any time by pressing this.
The scan normally lasts up to 20 minutes and during some of this time you must keep very still. If you suffer from claustrophobia and think this might be a problem for you it is advisable to discuss this with the Radiology Department in advance. The whole appointment should last around 40 minutes.
There are no side-effects or after-effects of an MRI scan, although if you were given an injection to slow down your bowel you may notice some blurring of vision or dryness in the mouth. These effects wear off quickly, and you can continue with your day as normal after your appointment.
WHEN WILL I GET MY RESULTS?
Your result will normally be ready within a week. The results will be sent to the consultant who referred you, and you should make an appointment with him/her to discuss your results.
Please note that these tests are carried out by our colleagues in the Department of Radiology. The above information is for guidance only, and should never supersede any information or guidance that they give to you.