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MR Scanners

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MR Scanners use magnets and radio waves to create pictures of the inside of your body.

Doctors use MR Scanners to find out more about your health problems.


Who are we?

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

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 particularly good at identifying problems in the spine, brain and joints. A standard x-ray does not give the same level of detail as an MRI scan

What happens when you see us?

The radiographer will ask you to lie on the scanner bed and position you correctly. You will need to keep very still during the scan to avoid blurring the pictures.

If we are scanning your chest or abdomen, we may ask you to hold your breath for a moment.

The scan should be completely painless. The most difficult part is keeping still. However, it makes a loud banging noise. We will give you headphones to reduce the noise. You can listen to music, so please bring in a CD.

A scan usually takes 20 - 30 minutes, depending on the area of your body that is being scanned.

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, cannot be scanned. You will be asked to complete a safety questionnaire before your scan to make sure it is safe for you to be scanned. If you cannot have an MRI scan, you may be able to have a CT or ultrasound scan instead.

Sometimes we need to give you an injection of contrast dye before the scan. This contains gadolinium, which some people are allergic to. Very rarely it can cause an allergic reaction which is similar to hay fever (runny nose and itchy eyes).

If you are pregnant, national safety guidelines recommend that we do not carry out an MRI scan unless it is clinically urgent. The doctor who refers you for the scan will decide with the radiologist if your scan is necessary. Many pregnant women have had MRI scans with no reported problems. For further information please call the department.

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