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MRI Scan

What is MRI?

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a type of scan that uses magnetic fields and radio waves to produce detailed images of the tissues, organs and other structures inside your body.   An MRI scan can be used to examine almost any part of the body.  The results of an MRI scan can be used to help diagnose conditions, plan treatments and assess how effective previous treatment has been.

What is the scanner like?

The MRI scanner is a wide cylinder about 1.5 metres long, surrounded by a circular magnet.   The scanner is well lit and a fan can be switched on to keep you comfortable during your scan.

Lymington CT scanner

Lymington New Forest Hospital scanner is one of the latest and quietest scanners available.

Your GP or other health professional will refer you if you need a MRI scan.

When you arrive a member of staff will check your MRI safety Questionnaire.  They may have to ask you further questions to help ensure that it is suitable for you to have an MRI scan.  You will need to remove all metal objects such as zips, belts, hair slides and jewellery (including all body piercings) before entering the scan room.  You will be asked to change into a gown if you are wearing clothes with metal on them.

Download the MRI patient information leaflet 


During the scan itself you will be asked to lie on a couch that is moved into the scanner.  Depending on the part of your body being scanned, you will be moved into the scanner either head or feet first. An aerial is placed behind, or around, the part of the body being examined. This detects the tiny radio signals emitted from your body.  Once you are positioned and comfortable, all you need to do is relax and keep very still. A loud, rhythmic knocking noise will be heard whilst the scan takes place.  This is the electric current in the scanner components being turned on and off.  It is possible to play music during your scan.

Download the MRI patient information leaflet

A radiographer will operate the scanner from outside of the room using a computer.  It is not possible for the computer and scanner to be in the same room due to electrical interference.   The radiographer will be able to see you clearly through a window whilst you are having your scan.  They will be able to talk to you through an intercom and you will be given a buzzer so that you can call them.

It is very important to keep as still as possible during your MRI scan, as movement will blur the pictures. The scan can last from 10 to 60 minutes, depending on the size of the area being scanned and how many images are taken.

An MRI scan is a painless and safe procedure.  MRI scans do not involve exposing the body to X-ray radiation and are considered very safe.  However, it may not possible for some patients to have an MRI scan.  People who have had pacemakers, aneurysm clips, metal heart valves or metal fragments in their eyes will need to discuss with the radiographer whether a scan is possible. You will be asked to fill out a questionnaire prior to the scan to identify any contraindications that may prevent you from having an MRI scan.

In some cases, an injection of a special contrast dye is given into the bloodstream via a vein in your arm. This helps to give clearer pictures of certain tissues or organs being examined.   A radiologist will decide whether this is necessary.

There are no after effects from your scan so you can eat, drink and resume normal activities straight away.

Your scan will be examined by a radiologist, who will then send a report to your referring clinician.  It is not possible for any results to be given immediately by the radiologist or radiographer following your scan.

You can find out more about what to expect during an MRI scan by downloading our patient information leaflet.

If you are unable to attend or wish to cancel an appointment please telephone the Radiology department or e-mail hp-tr.radoffice@nhs.net as soon as possible.   

Download the MRI patient information leaflet 

Contact us

Radiology Department
Lymington New Forest Hospital 
Wellworthy Road
SO41 8QD

Radiology Department: 01590 663125 


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