MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging)

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The information below is intended for patients who are planning to undergo a MRI Scan at Melbourne Radiology Clinic. An Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scan uses a powerful magnet and radiowaves to produce superbly detailed views of the human body, particularly soft tissues, such as the brain, spinal cord and muscles. Unlike other imaging tests, MRI does not use radiation. Though some discomfort may occur from having to lay still, MRI is otherwise a painless procedure and typically takes approximately 20 to 30 minutes to perform.

Download PDF Information Sheet on MRI Melbourne Radiology Clinic - Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) Patient Information Sheet

Preparation

Preparing for your MRI scan at Melbourne Radiology Clinic

Procedure

Once the scan is under way as you will hear a loud vibrating or knocking sound. Noise cancelling headphones are provided for you to use and you may wish to listen to music or radio of your choice during the scan.

It is very important that you keep your body extremely still during the scan. Movement during a scan will result in lower quality or blurred images, similar to the blurring effect that occurs when taking a photograph of a moving object.

Usually four or five different types of MRI scans called sequences are taken with each one lasting about 2–8 minutes. Overall, you will be in the scanner for about 20 minutes. A sequence or sequences may need to be repeated if there is bluring of the images due to excessive movement.

You will be in constant communication with the technician who conducts the MRI. Their role is to ensure that you are comfortable and kept up-to-date with the progress of your scans. As an additional safety mechanism, you will be provided with a buzzer to hold during the scan. Press this at anytime should you feel exceedingly uncomfortable or anxious to gain the attention of the MRI technician. The scan at this point will be stopped and you will be immediately attended to by our staff.

MRI Contrast Dye (Gadolinium)

Some patients undergoing an MRI scan may require an injection of an intravenous (IV) dye (contrast) known as Gadolinium, which is a paramagnetic substance that is visible on MRI scans. The contrast is delivered into your body through a small plastic tube known as an intravenous cannula, which is placed into a vein in your arm by a nurse or radiographer who are both experienced in performing this procedure. This will result in a minor discomfort, usually no more than taking blood from your arm. The IV contrast is NOT radioactive.

The benefit of administering intravenous contrast for an MRI examination is enormous. The use of contrast greatly improves the accuracy of the examination and assists in excluding many life threatening conditions, such as cancer.

As for all medical procedures, there are risks associated with the administration of any substance, including IV contrast, however the benefit, such as an accurate diagnosis, outweighs the small risk of suffering from the side effects (discussed below). The decision to administer IV contrast is not taken lightly and is carefully made by your referring doctor and is based on your signs, symptoms, past medical history as well as the suspected diagnosis. If after reading the information below you are not willing to undergo a study with IV contrast, the test may still be performed without it, however you must be aware that the information from the examination may not accurately answer your doctor’s question. It is possible that another test may be appropriate, such as CT scan or Ultrasound, and this can be discussed with your referring doctor or our radiologist.

Most injections of IV contrast occur uneventfully. So that you are fully informed of the risks prior to the examination, Melbourne Radiology Clinic would like to inform you that:

Otherwise, there is no way of predicting who will be allergic to contrast until the dye is given. A patient who becomes allergic will usually develop their symptoms within 10 minutes, typically within the first one or two minutes and therefore will be still on our premises where assistance and medical treatment may be provided.

Results

A radiologist, a medical doctor specialising in the interpretation of medical images for the purposes of providing a diagnosis, will then review the images and provide a formal written report. If medically urgent, or you have an appointment immediately after the scan to be seen by your doctor or health care provider, Melbourne Radiology Clinic will instantly have your results ready. Otherwise, the report will be received by your doctor or health care provider within the next 24 hours.

REMEMBER ...

Whilst every effort is made to keep your appointment time, the special needs of complex cases, elderly and frail patients can cause unexpected delays. Your consideration and patience in these circumstances is appreciated.

Patients will also need to read and complete:
Melbourne Radiology Clinic - MRI Consent Form and Safety Questionnaire

References:

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 29 October 2014 16:09 )