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  • Australian Breast Centre

What to Expect With an MRI

Updated: Mar 18

An MRI is a safe and non-invasive procedure, and it is one of the most common radiological tests we perform at Vision XRAY. Unlike traditional x-ray or CT scan (other common procedures) the MRI does not use any ionising radiation. If you’ll be needing an MRI with us, this post may help you better understand what to expect at your appointment.

What is MRI?

MRI is an acronym for magnetic resonance imaging, and it is a technology which uses a combination of strong magnets and radio waves to produce internal images of the body. The MRI machine is a large, hollow magnet. During the scan, the patient lies on a bed which moves horizontally into the opening of the magnet. The body region being studied is generally placed in the middle of the machine. Using the interactions of coils, magnets, and radio waves, MRI generates extremely detailed and accurate 3D images of the body.

MRI is highly useful in a number of diagnoses and treatments. It is often used to scan sporting injuries, brain and spinal cord, heart, blood vessels, and internal organs of the abdomen, pelvis, and chest. Your physician, in conjunction with your radiologist, can advise on the best and most effective scan for your particular health concern.

What is an MRI Appointment Like?

An MRI does not typically require excessive preparation. Usually, you are permitted to eat and drink as usual during the days prior to your appointment. You may be instructed to avoid food or beverage for a short time period (such as 30 minutes) leading up to your scan. Upon arrival, you will need to remove any items which might interfere with the magnetic imaging, such as jewellery and other metallic items. It can often be easier to simply leave these items at home. You will change into a gown and it will be time for the scan.

Usually, the scan lasts for half an hour to an hour, depending upon the area of the body under study. Whilst in the machine, you will need to lie still during the scan and may occasionally be asked to hold your breath for several seconds. You will be able to communicate with the radiographer through headphones, which can help you feel more comfortable and at ease. The MRI machine can sometimes create loud knocking sounds.

Sometimes, a contrast dye is required for an MRI to better illuminate internal organs and bring details into sharp focus on imaging. This is usually administered via an injection. Prior to your appointment, we will discuss if this will be necessary for your test and the decision is always up to you.

A Radiologist You Can Feel Good About

MRIs and other scans can make some patients nervous. To help lessen your nerves, we want you to know the Vision XRAY team is here to answer any questions you may have or to provide you with any additional information that will assist you. We aim to be the NSW radiology centre that you know and trust, and with our commitment to excellence and patient care, we’re confident you’ll feel good about choosing Vision XRAY.

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