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Imaging (X-ray)

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Radiology (X-Ray) is about taking photos of the inside of your body. Doctors use these photos to find out more about what is wrong.

This page gives you an overview of our Radiology department. You can get more information by clicking on the menu on the left.

Who are we?


MRI stands for magnetic resonance imaging. A combination of a strong magnet and radio waves produce detailed pictures of the inside of your body.  MRI scans do not use radiation, unlike x-rays and CT (computerised tomography) scans.

What do we do?

An MRI scan to help us find the cause of your problem and the best treatment options for you. MRI scans are good at identifying problems in many different areas of your body.  A standard x-ray does not give the same level of detail as an MRI scan.

What happens when you see us?

We will ask you some questions about any previous operations to make sure it is safe for you to have the MRI scan. When we are happy we will ask you to lie down on the scanner bed and we will position you so that you are as comfortable as possible. During the scan we need you to be as still as you can be, but please do not worry as we will help you through this.

The scan should be completely painless, although the scanner is extremely noisy. We will give you some headphones to reduce the noise and we will also play the radio in the background.  You can also bring a CD of music if you wish and we will play that while we scan you.

If you are nervous or claustrophobic please be assured that you are not the only ones. We meet several people each day that are nervous but we normally are able to help them through the test. We just take things at your pace to make sure we ge the best for you.

If you have an appointment and are nervous please telephone the department to chat to us about it on 0151-706 2751. You are welcome to visit the department before your appointment where we can explain everything to you and let you into the scan room so you can see what is involved.

What happens next?

As soon as the scan is finished, you can go home or back to your ward if you are an inpatient.

You can eat, drink and resume normal activities straightaway.

The results will be sent to the doctor who referred you. If that doctor is a consultant at the Royal Liverpool and Broadgeen Hospitals, the results will normally arrive within 5 working days. If it was your GP or a consultant at another hospital, the results will normally arrive within 2 weeks.

If you are an inpatient, the results will be given to the doctors looking after you on the ward.

More information

An MRI is a very safe procedure, but patients with heart pacemakers and certain surgical implants, eg cochlear implants, sometimes cannot be scanned. If you are unsure please call the department directly on 0151 706 2751 and we can explain the best way forward for you. If you cannot have an MRI scan, you may be able to have a CT or ultrasound scan instead, but we will discuss this with you.

Sometimes we need to give you an injection of contrast during the scan. This contains ‘gadolinium’, which provides additional information on your scan. It is very rare to have any kind of allergic reaction to this dye, but we always ensure you are well before you leave the department.  If you have any questions on this please ask, although we will explain it to you before we use it.

If you are pregnant, national safety guidelines recommend that we do not carry out an MRI scan unless it is clinically urgent. This is purely a precautionary measure. The doctor who refers you for the scan will decide with the radiologist if your scan is necessary. There is no record of any harm to a pregnant lady or her child as a result of an MRI scan worldwide to date. If you think there is a possibility of pregnancy please call the department directly to discuss the options on 0151 706 2751.

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