MRI scan – magnetic resonance imaging. This uses magnetic and radio waves, so no exposure to X-rays or any damaging forms of radiation. An MRI scan takes pictures from any direction. Contrast agents (usually gadolinium) can be used to delineate the lesion. These are usually injected into the arm during the scan. This has made some of our patients feel sick but this could be the thought of the injection. Needles are scary things.
Just a word about pacemakers; you may not be able to have an MRI scan if you have a pacemaker fitted or other metal objects in your body but alternatives are offered. Some new pacemakers are MRI compatable though – you will need to check with your cardiologist.
The scan will last about 45 minutes and can be noisy. Some hospitals let you listen to a CD so take one just in case.
Other tips if you need an MRI scan – wear warm clothing; it can be chilly in the room. You will need to take off jewellery and anything else metal. This includes underwired bras and jeans with studs in.
If you have a child undergoing an MRI scan, get them to imagine they are going into a space capsule.
You should receive the results within two weeks. Privately, you can have the scan and reporting done on the same day, but private scans can be expensive. You can get one done privately with a report for a little over £200 – it depends where you go.