Open MRI Scan

What is an MRI Scan?

Magnetic resonance imaging is a relatively safe, non-invasive diagnostic imaging procedure. MRI scans use radio waves, a magnet, and computer software to obtain two and three-dimensional (3D) images of the inside of the body.

What is an Open MRI Scan?

The basic technology of an open MRI scanner is similar to that of a conventional MRI scanner. The major difference for the patient is that instead of having to go into a cylinder, our open scanner is wide open on three sides allowing more space around the body, alleviating feelings of anxiety.

How much does an Open MRI Scan cost?

For self paying patients the price of a single region Open MRI Scan is from £500. We offer Open MRI Scans from our unit at Croydon University Hospital, and you can contact them or book an appointment online here.

Is the scan safe?

This type of scanning does not require the use of ionising radiation and there are no known side effects of the MRI Scan itself. Very rarely there are complications with contrast dye which is occasionally used. Please talk to the Radiographer if you have any anxieties.

How do I prepare for my scan?

No special preparation is required, however we do ask you to have nothing to eat or drink before the scan. You may continue to take any medication as normal. If you are having a scan of your abdomen you will be asked to fast for four hours before your scan. Prior to your scan at Croydon you will be asked to complete a Safety Questionnaire as some conditions may make the scan inadvisable. Please inform us if you have any of the following:

  • cardiac pacemakers
  • artificial heart valves
  • if there is any possibility of metal fragments in your eyes
  • implanted drug infusion ports
  • implanted electronic devices
  • electronic and magnetically activated implants
  • you are or maybe pregnant.

In addition, tell us if:

  • you have had recent surgery
  • you have a history of any renal (kidney) problems
  • metal pins, screws, plates or surgical staples.

The staff will then determine whether it is possible to go ahead with the exam. It is very important to be accurate. You may be asked to provide additional information about implants before a decision on safety can be made. We will supply you with a gown to wear during the examination, however, you can if you prefer wear your own clothes as long as they have no metal buttons or zips, (Pyjama's are always an option). You will be asked to remove any loose metal objects, credit cards and watches. Lockers will be available for use.

How long will it take?

The scan will usually last approximately 30 minutes for each part of the body being scanned. This can vary depending on the exact nature of the scan.

What can I expect during my scan?

The Radiographer will position you on the table of the scanner. A surface coil may be positioned around the part of the body being studied (e.g. the shoulder). Surface coils act like an antenna to receive the radio waves from the scanner. Once you are properly positioned the table will begin moving you into the scanner until the area being studied is in the centre of the magnet. During some scans it is possible for you to lay on your side enabling you to have a clear view out of the scanner. It is important that you remain completely still during the study. You may even be asked to hold your breath (briefly!). This is because movement can blur the images, making the study less accurate. We will communicate with you via intercom throughout the entire scan. You will hear a wide range of sounds during the scan procedure including banging, buzzing and rumbling noises. Do not worry - these noises are normal and earplugs or headphones are provided.

Will I need an injection?

Some patients may need a contrast injection to enhance the images, this gives additional information that cannot be gained in any other way. The fluid we use is injected via small plastic Venflon (tubing) in the arm. The (Dotarem) contrast agent is well tolerated by the majority of patients, however, if you feel discomfort at any time during the study, do not hesitate to alert the radiographer.

What happens after my scan?

After your scan you may eat and drink as usual and resume your normal daily activities. If you have had an injection it is advisable to drink plenty of fluids to help flush the contrast out of your system. If contrast is given you will be asked to remain in the department for approximately 30 minutes after the scan.

When will I get the results?

The results of your scan will be sent to your referring doctor/consultant. Please ensure you have made a follow up appointment to receive the scan results.

Chaperone service

All patients are entitled to have a chaperone with them during the scan. This chaperone may be a family member or friend and will also need to fill out a questionnaire and be screened for safety before they enter the scan room.

Any other queries?

If you have any other questions, worries or doubts do not hesitate to ask one of our staff. We want you to feel as comfortable as possible.

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