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MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) scans use a magnetic field, radio waves and a complex computer software to produce very detailed images of the human body, without the use of x-rays.
A specialist Radiographer performs the scan and a specialist doctor (Radiologist) views and interprets the images. The Chelmsford Hospital, Essex has an advanced MRI scanner on site with diagnostic scans typically taking around 30 minutes depending on the number of parts of the body under investigation.
MRI scans can be used to look at almost any part of the body. Common areas that are scanned include;
Before your scan the radiographer will go through your safety questionnaire with you, explain the procedure and answer any questions you may have. Depending on the type of scan you may either keep your regular clothes on whilst removing any metal such as jewellery, or you may be given a gown to change into.
You will then lie down on the MRI bed either head or feet first towards the scanner depending on which area of the body you are having scanned. The scanner looks like a big tube and is open both ends. A ‘coil’ will be placed either over or under the area being scanned; this reads the information from your cells and sends this to the computer to produce the images. For a back or neck scan the coil is simply a mat that goes under you so you won’t know it’s there. For other areas the coil looks like a plastic frame which will comfortably sit over or under the area you are having scanned.
Once you are ready, your radiographer will electronically move the MRI bed into the scanner. Throughout your scan you will have a button to hold which you can press at any time if you would like to stop the scan. You can also talk to your radiographer through a 2-way intercom throughout.
The scan takes approximately 30 minutes per part (e.g. a lower back scan is one part). There are little breaks throughout, at which point you can move a little if you wish to make yourself more comfortable.
The scanner is very noisy, so we give you earplugs or earphones to keep you comfortable. You are very welcome to bring a favourite CD with you or you can choose from our selection.
There has been extensive research into the effects of exposing the human body to MRI; all of which has found no side effects. So the MRI scanner is safe for your body. However if you have any metal in your body this may cause you harm when in close proximity to the MRI scanner. For this reason we have extremely thorough safety criteria to ensure you are safe to be scanned. You will be asked questions to check you do not have:
– a pacemaker
– a metal fragment in your eye
– shrapnel or a gunshot wound
– a false eye
– metal implants
An MRI scan is also not safe if you are pregnant.
Assuming you are safe to be scanned, you will experience no side effects afterwards and you may carry on your day as usual.
It will depend on how many body parts you are having scanned, for example, areas that equate to one ‘part’ each are: your lower back, neck, brain, hip, or your wrist. A scan of one body part is £380 if you are paying yourself. If you have private medical insurance, most companies will cover this procedure (please check with your provider).
To have an MRI scan you must have a referral form from a qualified Medical Practitioner, this may be your GP, Physiotherapist, Chiropractor, Osteopath or Consultant. Then simply call us on 01245 253760 to book your MRI scan appointment.