Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
An MRI machine does not work like an X-ray or CT as it does not use any form of ionising radiation. Instead it uses a combination of magnetic fields and radio waves. It can create exact images of internal organs and body structures. However, a typical MRI scan takes considerably longer to perform than either an x-ray or a CT scan.
What to expect?
You will have all metal objects removed from your body. You will lie down on a narrow padded moveable table that will be slid into the scanner through a circular opening.
You will feel nothing while the scan is in progress, but some people can feel slightly claustrophobic or closed in, whilst inside the scanner. You will be asked to remain still and hold your breath on command. There are staff present, but they will not necessarily remain in the room, but will speak with you via an intercom system and will be viewing the procedure constantly through a windowed control room, from where they will run the scanner.
Some procedures will require Contrast medium. Contrast medium is a substance that makes the image of the CT or MRI clearer. Contrast can be given by mouth, rectally or by injection into the bloodstream.
The scan time will vary depending on the type of examination required, but as a rule it will take around 30 minutes.