We have MRI facilities at both Royal Hampshire County Hospital and Basingstoke and North Hampshire Hospital. You will receive an appointment letter which will give details of when and where to attend for your scan.

What is an MRI scan?

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is a technique which uses a very powerful magnet and radio waves to create images. It is especially good at imaging soft tissue such as the brain, parts of the spine and joints and is sensitive enough to distinguish individual nerve bundles, spinal discs, cartilages and tendons.  The scanner itself is a short tunnel that is well lit and open at both ends.  The examination consists of several short scans lasting a few minutes with a short pause in between. Depending on the region being scanned, the whole examination will last between 15 minutes and 1 hour.

How to arrange it

Your consultant will refer you for the scan and you will be sent an appointment letter. This will include details of where to go and how long you are likely to be in the department.

What preparation is needed?

Any special preparation will be outlined in your appointment letter. If we need to give you an injection of contrast media we will ask you about any previous liver or kidney problems. It is very important that you let us know prior to the scan if you have any metal in your body, this includes but is not limited to any of the following:

  • A pacemaker or internal defibrillator
  • A syringe drive or pump
  • Any surgical clips
  • A cochlear implant, neurostimulator or hydrocephalus shunt
  • Any injury to the eyes involving metal fragments

It is also important you let us know if you are, or there is a chance that you may be pregnant. Although there is no proven harm to the unborn child we do try to avoid scanning during the first trimester of pregnancy.

What are the risks involved?

Apart from the dangers associated with any implanted metal coming into close proximity with the magnet there are no known side effects of MRI and it has been well used for over 25 years. There is a very small risk of an allergic reaction to the contrast media.

How will I get the results?

This will depend on who referred you for the scan. Your consultant may arrange a follow up appointment or write to you.