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MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) is a safe way to produce images of the body in high detail. During an MRI scan a large, powerful magnet, radio waves and an advanced computer are used to take incredibly detailed images of the relevant part of your body. There are no known side effects of an MRI scan, and it is normally a pain-free procedure.

You may feel nervous about your MRI scan, but we don’t want you to worry. Our experienced staff are friendly and approachable, and can answer any questions you may have about the scan. We’re here to help and guide you.

What MRI equipment is there?

We’re equipped with a 3T MRI scanner. Most MRI scanners are 1.5T, so the double field strength enables superior imaging with higher resolution. The pictures are so detailed that the radiologist can see even tiny changes. This accuracy helps in the early detection of disease and injury, allowing effective treatment planning.

We also have cardiac MRI capability, tying in with our cardiac screening in cardiology.

What conditions can an MRI scan assess?

MRI scans can help to diagnose muscle and joint injuries, back problems and concussions. It can also detect and monitor:

  • brain and spinal cord conditions
  • tumours, cysts and other anomalies in parts of the body
  • breast cancer for women at high risk
  • certain heart problems
  • liver disease and problems with other organs in the abdomen, such as the stomach, gallbladder and intestines
  • causes of pelvic pain in women.

Who can have an MRI scan at MIHP?

Elite athletes as well as self-referring members of the general public use this service with a whole range of musculoskeletal and neurological referrals.

Who can’t have an MRI scan?

Some people may not be able to have an MRI scan. To make sure you are safe to scan, please let us know if any of the following applies to you:

  • You have a heart pacemaker
  • You’ve had an operation to your brain or heart
  • You have any type of metal implant
  • You’ve had an injury to your eyes involving metal fragments
  • You are, or might be pregnant
  • You have a kidney problem.

How to prepare for your MRI scan

Please call us on the number on your appointment letter if you have any questions beforehand. Here are some things you can do to prepare:

  • If you suffer from claustrophobia, you may find the scan uncomfortable, so please contact us if you think this may be a problem for you as there may be other options, depending on the type of scan and area to be scanned
  • You can bring a friend or family member for support, but they may not be able to stay with you during the scan dependent on the procedure and safety screening. Children won’t be allowed into the scan room while you’re having the scan
  • You can eat and drink as normal and take any prescribed medicine you’d normally take, unless you’ve been given written instructions not to
  • Please wear clothing that has no metallic or plastic parts such as buttons, zips and hooks
  • Please don’t wear any jewellery, including those for piercings
  • Please don’t wear an under-wired bra
  • Don’t forget to bring the completed safety questionnaire with you – your radiographer will check this with you.

What does an MRI appointment involve?

Your appointment can take up to 40 minutes. You’ll be lying down on the scanning bed inside the MRI scanner for around half of this time.

Before the scan

When you arrive, you’ll meet your Nuffield Health radiographer – an expert in MRI scanning. Your radiographer will be with you through the whole process, from explaining the scan to performing the procedure.

We’ll check your name, date of birth and address. We’ll also ask you to sign a consent form to show that you agree to the procedure and fully understand what will happen. You’re free to ask any questions you want, to make sure you’re comfortable with everything before you sign.

If necessary, your radiographer may ask you to change into a gown for the scan and remove any jewellery. You’ll be given headphones or earplugs to wear as the machine can be loud.

During the scan

The scanner is a large hollow cylinder, which is open at both ends. The area of your body to be scanned needs to be in the centre of the scanner, so you can enter it head or feet first, and parts of your body may remain outside the scanner. Here’s what you can expect during this time:

  • For some scans, we can play you music while you’re inside the scanner
  • If you feel claustrophobic during the scan, you should tell your radiographer immediately
  • You’ll also be given a buzzer to hold, which you can press to stop the scan if necessary
  • You’ll experience no pain during the scan, but some patients feel uncomfortable to lie still for up to half an hour
  • You’ll hear quite loud mechanical sounds from the MRI scanner through your headphones or earplugs
  • Your radiographer can see and hear you at all times and will be able to talk to you throughout the scan using an intercom
  • For some MRI scans, an injection may be needed to ensure that we get the clearest scan. This depends on the area being scanned and what we need to see
  • There is a small risk of an allergic or a minor reaction to the injection. Our medical teams are trained to deal with this if it happens. If you have any concerns about this, please contact us on the number on your appointment letter.

When will I get the results of my MRI scan?

A radiologist will examine the images from your scan, and the results will be available within a few days. While you're waiting for the results, you'll be able to go about your normal activities.

You can book an appointment with your doctor or healthcare professional who referred you to us to get the results of the scan.

Find out more about MRI scan
Manchester Institute of Health & Performance (MIHP)

299 Alan Turing Way, Manchester, M11 3BS

0161 521 9200

Sat nav postcode: M11 2AZ

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