FAQs - Queens Square Imaging Centre
What is an MRI scan?
Magnetic Resonance Imaging, or MRI, is a technique whereby a magnetic field is used to obtain high quality images of the inside of the body. It is highly regarded for its ability to demonstrate soft tissues, particularly the brain, spinal cord, nerves and muscles.
Is MRI safe?
Yes. There are no known side effects associated with having an MRI scan, and it does not use any ionising radiation (such as X-Rays). We always have to be cautious about the magnetic field and some patients who have certain metallic objects in their body are not suitable for MRI scanning. We use a detailed safety checklist to assess whether you are safe to have a scan of this kind.
Occasionally, we use an injection of contrast dye during an MRI scan which enhances the appearance of certain tissues and can add to the quality of the scan in specific circumstances. This injection is regarded as being very safe, although we will always check to make sure that there is no reason why this injection would be unsafe for a patient to have if necessary. The radiographer will explain this injection to you in more detail if it is necessary for your scan.
We do not scan female patients who are within the first trimester of pregnancy.
How do I prepare for my MRI scan?
There is very little you need to do to prepare for an MRI scan with us. You can eat and drink normally before your appointment and you can take any medications you would normally take as normal.
If we need you to bring anything specific with you for your appointment we will let you know.
However, as a general rule, it is always useful if you could:
- Wear comfortable clothing with minimal attached metal (zips etc.) We may need you to change for your scan in which case we will provide you with a gown
- Avoid wearing eye makeup, especially if you are having your brain or eyes scanned.
- Avoid bringing any jewellery with you that you would not be happy to remove and leave in a locked room.
- Bring any previous scans that you might have copies of to your scan appointment. It is always useful if we can see old scans as these can be used for comparison.
What equipment do you have?
We are privileged to employ the very latest in MRI technology which allows us to undertake scans which are at the forefront of modern medical imaging, including functional MRI (fMRI).
Across our two imaging centres in Central London, we operate two 1.5T magnets and one 3T magnet, which are each optimised to the type of specialist scanning we offer.
We do not operate an ‘Open’ MRI scanner but our magnets are some of the most modern available, and we find that claustrophobic patients can often tolerate scans in scanners. Please get in touch if you are anxious and would like to know more.
Do you scan children?
We do not routinely scan patients under the age of 16 at the Queen Square Imaging Centre or Chenies Mews Imaging Centre. However, with prior arrangement, scans on patients younger than 16 years of age can sometimes be accommodated. You are advised to contact the Imaging Centre on 020 783 32513 to discuss your requirements.
Do any height of weight restrictions apply with MRI scans?
There are no height restrictions with our scanner. However, we are unable to scan patients who weigh in excess of 130kg/20stone/300pounds.
Do I need a referral for an MRI scan?
Yes. We can only scan a patient who has been referred for an MRI by their doctor. This can be a general practitioner (GP) but usually, we would prefer to take referrals from a specialist doctor. We are only able to release results to a doctor, and cannot release results direct to the patient.
Will I get a copy of my MRI scan to keep?
Yes. All private patients have their MRI scan recorded onto a CD for their own records. It is routine that we send this CD, along with the radiologist report to the doctor in the first instance. We would only give the patient a CD of their images on the day of their appointment if the patient is returning to see their doctor immediately.
How do I make an appointment at the Queen Square Imaging Centre?
If your doctor requires you to have an MRI scan, then you can contact the centre directly on 020 783 32513 to arrange an appointment. Alternatively, your doctor’s secretary may offer to arrange this appointment on your behalf on a day which is suitable for you. This may be preferable if you need to have other diagnostic tests arranged on the same day.
If you would like to arrange a scan for your patient, then you can download a referral form from our website and either fax the completed form to 020 783 78074, or email it to our appointments administrator at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I am nervous about my MRI scan. Can I have sedation?
If you are nervous about your MRI scan for any reason, we would advise you to contact the imaging centre in the first instance so that we can discuss your concerns over the phone and try to ease your worries. We are always happy to discuss your appointment and answer any questions you may have. We never rush patients and we always take our time with each patient to make sure you are as comfortable as possible during your scan. You are also welcome to come in and see us so that we can show you the scanner in advance of your appointment.
If you feel that you do need sedation for your scan to help you relax, then you can ask your doctor for a prescription for a light oral sedative. The patient must organise this themselves and the Queen Square Imaging Centre neither stocks sedation, nor does it provide prescriptions. If you do obtain sedation, we would ask you to arrive in the department at least 30 minutes prior to your appointment time, and take your tablet whilst here in the department. You should organise for someone to escort you home after your scan and you must not drive yourself.
Can I bring a friend of relative with me?
You are very welcome to bring a friend of relative with you to your appointment. If necessary, you may have someone accompany you into the scanning room, although this is always at the discretion of the radiographer. Anyone going into the room with a patient must successfully complete the safety checklist for themselves and will be asked to remove all metallic objects from their person.
Queen Square Private Consulting Rooms
23 Queen Square
Tel: 020 3448 8948
Fax: 020 3448 8994
Queen Square Private Patients Unit: Nuffield
National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery
Tel: 020 3448 3983
Tel: 020 3448 3300
Fax: 020 3448 3571
8-11 Queen Square
Tel: 020 7833 2513
Fax: 020 7837 8074