MRI Scans - Frequently asked questions and answers from our Imaging team
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MRI Scan (Magnetic Resonance Imaging)

Private MRI scanning is available at The Edinburgh Clinic, with fast access to appointments. During your appointment you can relax in our calming, unique and quality clinical environment at The Edinburgh Clinic, while our team of experienced and fully qualified radiographers perform your scan.

What is an MRI Scan?

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) uses a strong magnet, radio waves and a computer to produce highly detailed images of many parts of the body, including bones, the spine, pelvis, blood vessels, ligaments, cartilage and nerves, and organs such as the brain and heart.

Preparing for an MRI scan

As a MRI scanner uses a strong magnet to perform the scan, there are strict guidelines we must follow to ensure your safety. If you have been referred for an MRI scan and have any of the following, please contact the clinic prior to attending for your scan appointment:

  • cardiac pacemaker
  • cochlear (inner ear) implant
  • artificial heart valve
  • metal clips on blood vessels in your brain
  • have undergone surgery in the last six weeks
  • metal in your eyes.

Before you attend for your scan, please consider the following:

  • Coloured or tinted contact lenses cannot be worn during an MRI scan, so please bring a suitable container to put them in during your scan
  • We welcome you to bring with you a favourite CD which we can play for you to listen to during your scan, we also have a range of CDs from which you can choose if you prefer
  • Continue to take any prescribed medication unless you are told otherwise by your referring clinician
  • If you are pregnant, or if there is a possibility that you may be pregnant please tell the radiographer prior to receiving your MRI scan.

What happens when you arrive for an MRI scan?

  • Please report to the main reception area where you will be greeted by the administration staff. You will then be escorted by a member of staff to the imaging department
  • If your scan requires that you change out of your clothes, a member of our imaging team will show you to a changing area. We provide gowns and tunic and trouser sets plus dressing gowns  for your comfort. Storage for your belongings is available, however, The Edinburgh Clinic cannot take responsibility for loss or damage to any personal belongings.
  • You will be asked to complete a MRI safety questionnaire and a member of staff will go over this with you prior to your scan.

What happens during the scan?

  • A radiographer will take you into the MRI room and position you on the scanning table. The scanning table moves through the MRI machine during scanning.
  • The MRI machine is like a short tunnel and is open at both ends.
  • A piece of equipment, or ‘receiver coil’, may be required to be placed over the part of the body to be scanned.
  • While the machine performs the scan you may hear noise that varies from tapping to a loud drilling sound. As part of an MRI scan a number of ‘sequences’ of noise of up to five minutes with quieter intervals must be performed. It is important during the noisy periods that you keep very still.
  • You will be given headphones to protect you from the noise; the headphones also allow you to listen to music of your choice.
  • During the scan the radiographer can see you clearly and talk to you through a two-way intercom system.
  • An injection of a special dye, or ‘contrast agent’, may be required to make certain tissues or blood vessels show up more clearly and in greater detail. If you are required to have contrast dye, an injection will be given into a vein in your arm by an experienced, fully qualified radiographer. Sometimes several scans will be taken before the contrast agent is injected and then further scans may be taken after the injection.
  • Depending on the area being scanned the scan time may last between 20 and 60 minutes.

What happens after your MRI scan?

If you have changed out of your clothes for your scan you can get dressed and go home when you feel ready.

Your results

Your MRI scan result will be reported by a subspecialist Consultant Radiologist typically within 48 hours. Results will be sent to your referring clinician directly.