MRI SCANNING

Private appointments are offered at:

The Somerfield Hospital
SPIRE Alexandra Hospital
Sevenoaks Diagnostic Centre
The Maidstone Hospital

What is an MRI scan?
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) combines a powerful magnet with a sophisticated computer to produce pictures of any part of the body without the need for X rays.

An MRI scan enables very clear pictures to be made of the soft tissue structures such as the brain, spinal cord and internal organs. The detail in these pictures is so good that the scanner can see even small abnormalities. This accuracy helps in the detection of disease and injury, allowing effective treatment to start as soon as possible.

MRI scans are used to give detailed information about bones and joints, the head and neck, and nearly every organ in the body, including blood vessels. The information is collected electronically over a short period of time, then translated into a series of images on a computer screen. These images can be made available to a specialist who can study them closely and report the findings to your GP or consultant.

The MRI scan
The scan will take between 20-60 minutes, depending on which part of the body is being scanned.

You will not feel anything during the scan, but you will hear a rhythmic drumming noise which periodically stops and starts, this is the normal operation of the scanner. The scanner noise can be quite loud so the radiographer will provide you with earplugs or ear defenders.

From the time you are moved into the scanner to the end of the scan it is important that you keep absolutely still to avoid blurring the pictures.

It is sometimes necessary to give a small injection of contrast agent; this provides the doctors with more information. If this happens please drink plenty of fluid over the next 24 hours, unless you are on fluid restriction.

What preparation will be required?
Unless you are told otherwise, no special preparation is needed for an MRI scan and patients may continue to eat and drink as normal and take prescribed medicines. To avoid any injury to yourself or damage to your belongings you will be asked to remove any metallic objects such as your watch, any loose change, keys, credit cards, jewellery, mobile phone, spectacles, metallic dentures and hearing aids.

Suitability for an MRI scan.

Please contact us before your scan if you have:

  • a heart pacemaker
  • surgical clips within your head
  • metallic heart valves
  • inner ear implants
  • metal fragments within your head or eye
  • neuro electrical stimulators
  • body piercings
  • had joint replacement surgery
  • ever been a metal worker
  • an intrauterine device such as a Copper-7 IUD
  • permanent eye liner (tattoo)
  • may be, or are, pregnant, or breastfeeding
  • had a gunshot wound

Any metallic substance on your body can affect the quality of the diagnostic images. We need to know this for your own safety as it could cause discomfort or injury when you are placed in the magnetic field. In addition, it could exclude you from the examination.

If you have ever had an accident where metal fragments may have entered into your eye or surrounding areas, you must inform the MRI staff before your appointment date. This will enable us to determine your suitability for a scan.