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Frequently asked questions

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.

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.

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.

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.

Patient testimonial

I really cannot thank you enough for the enormous kindness you and your staff showed me when I came in for my MRI last week. I was extremely nervous, having panicked during an MRI scan before at another hospital. However, your staff put me at ease from the first moment I stepped foot in your department. I have now had my MRI done, and can go back to see my consultant with all of the information he needs. Thank you.