What is Magnetic Resonance Imaging?
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is an imaging technique that uses magnetic fields and radiofrequency waves to acquire very detailed images of the body.
MRI equipment acquires data and produces images of extraordinarily fine detail. The level of detail obtained allows the body part being scanned to be imaged in multiple directions and views including 3D.
MRI scans are only performed through the area of interest not the entire body.
Preparation – What to do before a MRI scan
Due to necessary safety precautions when making your appointment please inform our secretarial staff if you have:
Further to initial safety questions completed when making your booking you must complete a safety screening and detailed medical history upon presentation to the MRI department.
Due to the specificity and detail of imaging provided by MRI, scanning protocols for any given body part may vary in accordance with clinical symptoms or causal events. For this reason additional information on your signs and symptoms may also be required prior to your scan.
For most MRI scans there is no further preparation required. However, our staff will advise you of any specific instructions when you make your appointment.
It is important to closely follow any preparation advice given. All instructions are aimed at ensuring you receive a safe and accurate examination. At the time of booking please advise our staff of any medical conditions that may contraindicate standard preparation instructions or even the test itself.
If you take regular medication you should continue to take it unless otherwise advised.
If you are a diabetic please ensure booking staff are made aware of this when you are making your appointment as variations in preparation instructions or booking times may be required to accommodate your needs.
If you are pregnant it is imperative to advise our staff of this when booking your appointment.
For head scans please refrain from wearing eye makeup where possible.
For all examinations we ask that you bring along any previous imaging you have of the area under investigation or that may have relevance to your signs and symptoms.
At Southern Radiology we require a written referral or request before undertaking any medical imaging examinations. Please ensure you bring your referral with you to your appointment.
Bring your Medicare card for billing purposes.
The procedure – What happens during your appointment and scan?
The exact procedure for any medical imaging examination depends on what is being imaged and why.
Although there will be slight variations in what you can expect when you attend your MRI appointment, as a general guideline:
Appointment length – How long can I expect to be at Southern Radiology?
Your appointment includes the time it takes to:
Scan times on average total 30 minutes per scanned region. However, in order to allow for pre- procedural steps as well as aftercare, as a general rule, we advise you to allow an hour for your appointment.
For examinations with additional preparation or aftercare our staff will advise you of any further time requirements.
Is it safe?
MRI does not use ionising radiation and is not known to have any harmful effects for patients that can safely enter the magnetic field.
Magnetic fields of the strength used in MRI scanning are contraindicated for some patients. The implantation of some medical prostheses can make entry into the magnetic field unsafe. Metal foreign objects can also cause unsafe conditions. At Southern Radiology all persons are screened for safety before entry into the MRI room is permitted.
Radiofrequency waves used in MRI scanning are also considered safe with no known harmful effects.
Should you require intravenous contrast there is a small risk of allergic reaction. The possibility of reaction is minimised through our pre-procedure investigation of your medical history and existing conditions. Further to this, all our staff are trained in observing even the most minor signs of an allergic reaction as well as corrective actions. MRI scans are not performed without a medical doctor on site should any further assistance be required. Intravenous contrast is not given to anyone that is considered high risk.