MRI stands for Magnetic Resonance Imaging, a type of scan that produces a detailed picture of the inside of your body using strong magnetic fields and radio waves.
An MRI scanner is the machine that produces such images. It looks like a large tube, big enough to lie inside.
MRI scans are used to examine all areas of the body, we most commonly scan bones and joints.
MRI scans are diagnostic tools, they are used by doctors to help work out what is causing your illness or pain.
What happens during an MRI scan
Your MRI scan will be performed in the Diagnostics and Radiology department of one of our specialist hospitals, our radiographers will perform the scan.
Before undertaking the scan the radiographer will take some information from you and ask you to lie on a bed that will be moved into the scanner itself.
Depending on what area of your body is being scanned you will be asked to lie either head first or feet first in the scanner.
The radiographer will then move to an adjacent room and speak to you through an intercom system. This is to avoid exposing the radiographer to the radiation generated during the scanning process.
While the scan is taking place the MRI machine will periodically make loud banging noises. These are caused by the electric current in the coils of the scanner coming on and off.
Your radiographer will give you headphones or earplugs to reduce the noise.
It is essential that you keep as still as possible during the scanning process as movement can distort the produced image.
The length of time the scan will take depends on the part of the body being scanned. Generally, scans take anywhere between 15 and 90 minutes to perform.
How does an MRI scan work?
A very large amount of the stuff that makes up the human body is water which is itself formed of hydrogen and oxygen atoms.
Every hydrogen atom also contains a smaller particle, called a proton, at its centre. Protons behave like magnets and are highly sensitive to magnetic fields.
The MRI scanner tube contains large and powerful electromagnets. As they are turned on, all of the protons in your body line up in the same direction – rather like the way the need of a compass can be moved using a magnet.
The scanner then sends concentrated burst of radio waves to the area of the body to be scanned, which knocks those protons out of alignment.
As soon as the radio waves are turned off, all of the protons realign. This process itself sends out radio waves which detectors in the MRI machine pick up.
Then, after this process is complete, a computer analyses the millions of detailed signals that the protons have emitted and reconstructs them into an image of the inside of your body.
Just as in a normal computer the millions of pixels in the screen can be used to produce an image of the desktop, the signals from the protons are put together to form an image of your insides.
How safe is an MRI scan?
MRI scans are completely safe and entirely painless. The scanning process itself can sometimes feel claustrophobic, but most people are able to overcome this after discussion with the radiographer.
Since MRI scanning technology was introduced in healthcare there has been extensive research conducted to ensure that magnetic fields and radio waves are safe for the human body.
No evidence has ever been found to suggest that any danger is incurred making an MRI scan one of the safest procedures it is possible to undergo.
There are some mitigating factors that mean an MRI scan might not be recommended. The technology relies on using magnetic fields so metal elements within the body – such as pacemakers or artificial limbs – make an MRI scan impossible.
MRI scans are also not recommended for pregnant women.
You can use your private medical insurance or pay for your MRI Scan treatment. We offer competitive, fixed price packages as well as the ability to spread your cost with the option of 0% finance. If you are using your health insurance please do contact your insurer first for approval and let them know you’d like to be treated at One Ashford Hospital
Why One Ashford
- Modern purpose-built hospital opened in March 2016
- Fast access to diagnostics including MRI, Xray and Ultrasound
- Private, spacious, en-suite rooms
- Specialist Physiotherapy and nursing teams
- Little or no waiting time
- ‘Ultra clean air’ theatres
- Freshly prepared food
- Calm, dignified experience
Contact us and find out more
Contact our team to find out more information regarding private MRI Scan or to book an initial consultation.If you are based in and around Kent, Maidstone, Dover, Canterbury or Folkestone and would like to visit the One Ashford Hospital please click here
Diagnostics & Imaging Pricing Guide at One Ashford Hospital
This is a list of guide prices for some of common Diagnostics & Imaging treatments and procedures.
|MRI Scan, from||£350|
|X Ray, from||£110|