MRI scan

woman having MRI scan

This is a scan that uses magnetic energy to build up a picture of the tissues inside your body. Sometimes your doctor will use a CT scan and an MRI scan to build a clearer picture of your organs.

Before the test

You may have an injection before the scan to show up certain parts of your body. Before the scan you may be asked not to eat or drink beforehand, and you will need to remove any hair clips, jewellery, prosthetics or anything else that might contain metal. Those who have certain medical devices in their body, like a pacemaker or metal pin, are not suitable for the test.

During the test

You will lie inside a tunnel-like machine. The machine is quite noisy, but you’ll be given earplugs / headphones to wear during it. You may feel anxious about the scan, but every effort will be made to put you at your ease. Tell the radiographer if you’re feeling nervous.

You will be on your own in the room but the radiographer can see you and hear you and will be able to talk to you through an intercom. If you need anything you can talk to the radiographer or just raise your hand, or you may have a buzzer to press.

How long does it last?

An MRI can last anywhere from 15 minutes to over an hour. It depends on how big the area being scanned is and the number of images being taken.

After the test

Most people will be able to go home immediately afterwards.

MRI scan video

Cancer Research UK has a helpful video on this test

For more information

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