How can I prepare for my MRI?

For the majority of MRI scans, there is no fasting necessary or any other preparation involved.

Please do contact us directly for more information regarding your scanning requirements.

Before your scan

When you arrive for your MRI scan, you’ll be asked to fill in a questionnaire about your current health status. Make sure you complete this honestly and with as much information as possible. This helps the team make sure they are doing all they can to support you during your scan process.

Before the scan, you’ll stay in your normal clothes and remove all jewellery and body piercings. We would recommend wearing soft and comfortable clothing without metal zippers, metal buttons, under-wire or metal of any kind. In some circumstances, you may be asked to change into a medical gown. You will be provided with a locker for all your personal belongings, including your mobile phone or any other portable electronic devices.

If you’re using a contrast dye, this will be injected into your arm by an experienced Radiographer, who will look after you throughout the procedure.

Our team will support you every step of the way before, during and after your scan. You can ask any questions or raise any concerns at any time, and we will be pleased to help.

If you think you may be claustrophobic (have a fear of enclosed spaces), please look at the Open MRI service that we offer or check out our FAQ’s: What is an Open MRI?

Prior to your scan at MRI Plus, you will be asked to complete our screening form, which includes our MRI Safety Questionnaire, as some conditions may make an MRI Examination inadvisable. Please let us know if you have any of the following:

  • Cardiac pacemaker
  • Implanted electronic devices or electronic and magnetically activated implants
  • Artificial heart valves
  • Implanted drug infusion ports
  • Artificial limbs or metallic joint prostheses
  • Implanted nerve stimulators
  • Metals pins, screws, plates or surgical staples
  • Surgical clips
  • Neuro and bone stimulators
  • Infusion pump

In addition, please tell us if:

  • You are pregnant or may be pregnant
  • You have had recent surgery
  • You have a history of any renal (kidney) problems
  • There is any possibility of foreign metal fragments in your eyes.

The staff will then determine whether it is possible to go ahead with the exam. By signing this form, you are giving consent to be scanned. If you change your mind at any point, please speak to one of our team.

What happens during my MRI scan?

Your MRI scan will be conducted by a radiographer who will greet you and check your paperwork, before guiding you into the scanning room. Once inside the room, you will be asked to lie on your back or side, dependent on the area being scanned. The radiographer may use pillows or straps to make you more comfortable during the test. This will also help keep you still so the machine can take the clearest images.

The technician will then slide you into the machine head or feet first, dependent on the area being tested. The radiographer will then go into a separate room to watch the monitors capture images but will be able to talk to you via a microphone. The radiographer will tell you when to hold still and may ask you to hold your breath to ensure minimal distortion to the images.

During your scan, there may be some loud noises, such as clacks or thuds, and possibly a whirring noise, but the technician will offer you earplugs or play some music for you. If you would like to bring your own music, please provide a CD to the technician prior to your scan commencing.

The most commonly used MRI machine is a closed MRI, often called a ‘donut’ scanner due to the circular shape around the padded table. If you think you may be claustrophobic (have a fear of enclosed spaces), please look at the Open MRI service that we offer.

What happens after my MRI scan?

Once the technician has recorded the images they need, you’ll be free to go about your day. You can eat, drink and resume normal activities straightaway.

If you are a private patient, you will be provided with a disc copy of your MRI images. Every scan package includes a written report, which will be sent securely and confidentially to your referring clinician (or GP if you have self-referred), within the timescale specified when selecting your package

Can I take my phone into my scan?

We do not allow phones, or any other electronic devices, to be taken into the MRI scanning room as they may be affected by the static magnetic field. A security locker will be provided to accommodate personal belongings that will be either attracted by the static magnetic field or suffer damage.

Can I bring a friend or family member into my MRI appointment?

You are welcome to bring someone to accompany you during your scan, as long as they are over the age of 16 and subject to screening. Please note that both you and your accompanying friend or family member will need to complete the MRI Safety Questionnaire.

We are also happy to provide a chaperone for your scan – please just let us know when booking your appointment.

How long will my scan take?

The MRI scan typically takes between 20-40 minutes per body area but may take an hour depending on how many parts of your body are being scanned.

Why do I have to provide my GP contact details?

The imaging report may contain medical terms that you may find confusing and possibly alarming, but neither the reporting radiologist nor the MRI centre is able to discuss the findings of the scan directly with the patient. All enquiries about the report’s content and recommendations must be conducted with your GP (or other responsible medical practitioner).

How can I get a copy of my report?

It’s good practice in the UK for your scan report to be sent to a clinical professional and for you to make an appointment with them to discuss your results and treatment. You can walk away on the day with your images on CD, with your report being sent to a medical professional.

Please note that we are unable to release reports directly to any patient as we have a duty of care to ensure that all patients follow-up with a medical professional involved in their ongoing care. If you are referred to our service, your will be sent to your referring clinician. If you choose to self-refer, your report will be sent to the Healthcare Professional you have specified at the time of completing the self-referral form. Once you have seen your chosen medical professional, you may be able to obtain a copy of your report directly from them.

Please note that we are unable to release the CD or report for any MRI funded by the NHS – please speak to your referrer or GP regarding your results.