What is MRI?

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) uses a powerful magnet and radiofrequency waves to produce detailed images of any part of the body. MRI does not use X-rays.

MRI safety

You will be asked to complete a safety questionnaire before your MRI scan. You can not be scanned if you have any of the following: cardiac pacemaker, cochlear implant, aneurysm clip in the brain, metallic fragments in the eye and certain types of medical implants. You may be excluded from having an MRI scan during pregnancy.

Do I need to prepare?

Unless you are told otherwise, you can eat and drink normally before your scan and take prescribed medicines. You may be asked to change into a cotton gown and bathrobe. You will be asked to remove all metal items, such as dentures, jewellery, hearing aids, wallet, coins, belt, hair pins and keys. Secure lockers are provided but please leave valuables at home. Feel free to bring a favourite CD to listen to during your scan as this can help to relax you. If you are medically insured please bring details with you including authorisation numbers for the MRI scan. It is hospital policy to take a credit card number from all patients.

What happens during my scan?

You will lie on the scanning table and a specially shaped receiver coil will be placed around the part of the body you are having scanned. This area needs to be in the middle of the scanner, which stays open at both ends. You will experience no discomfort during the scan, but you will hear loud banging and tapping noises. We will give you ear defenders to wear.

The radiographer operating the scanner will be able to see and hear you throughout the procedure. You will also be given a call buzzer to squeeze if you require the radiographer. The scan will take between 20-60 minutes, during which time you must lie very still.

For some scans you may require a small injection of MRI contrast agent (gadolinium) or buscopan. Following these injections you may have to stay in the department for 30 minutes after your scan.

When will I get my results?

Please do not ask the radiographer for your scan results – the scans have to be reviewed by a radiologist who will interpret the scans and write a report to the doctor who referred you.
Your doctor will either contact you or you should arrange an appointment with them to discuss the results.

If you haven’t been told the results of your scan within two weeks, you should contact your referring doctor.

Other scans available at Spire Murrayfield:

  • CT
  • X-Ray
  • Mammography
  • Ultrasound 

Find a treatment, test or scan available at:


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