MRI - Specific Tests

  • MRI Spine

    Preparation

    No preparation is required

    Day of the Scan

    When you arrive for your examination, you will be asked to fill out a safety questionnaire.

    You will lie in the scanner on a special coil covering the area of your spine which is being imaged. This area needs to be in the centre of the magnet. For a cervical spine (neck) you will go in head first. For a lumbar spine you will go in feet first and depending upon how tall you are your head may be out of or near the entrance of the magnet. You will be given headphones or earplugs and a buzzer to press if you want to talk to the technologist at any time.
    The scan is noisy, but all you have to do is lie still.
    On some occasions, a contrast dye (gadolinium) may be required. If this is required the technologist will explain the process. The contrast dye will be administered through a small needle (intravenous cannula) that will be placed in your arm.

    Duration

    A single region MRI spine takes 20-25 mins.

  • MRI Musculoskeletal

    Preparation

    No preparation is required

    Day of the Scan

    When you arrive for your examination, you will be asked to fill out a safety questionnaire and a form to provide us with more information about your condition and any previous surgery or procedures.
    You will lie in the scanner with a special coil over the area of your body which is being imaged. This area needs to be in the centre of the magnet. In some cases you will go in head first. For the lower limbs you will go in feet first and your head may be out of the magnet. You will be given headphones and a buzzer to press if you want to talk to the technologist at any time.
    The scan can be noisy, but all you have to do is lie still.

    Duration

    This will depend upon the area being imaged and can range from 15-30 mins. An MRI knee takes 15 mins.

  • MRI Liver/MRCP

    MRI of the liver is a noninvasive examination that obtains high resolution images of the Liver and surrounding structures.

    Preparation

    When making the appointment, you will be instructed to fast from food and water for 6 hours prior to your appointment. This will ensure that your stomach is free of any food products and gives time for your biliary system to fill for optimal anatomical visualisation.

    Day of the scan

    When you arrive for your examination, you will be asked to fill out a safety questionnaire.
    You will lie in the scanner with a special coil over your lower chest and abdomen. This area needs to be in the centre of the magnet and you will usually go into the magnet head first. You will be given headphones and a buzzer to press if you want to talk to the technologist at any time.
    During the scan you will be asked to hold your breath while the images are acquired. Each breath hold will last for around 15 secs.
    In some cases, an injection of a contrast dye (gadolinium) is required. If this is required the technologist will inform you beforehand and explain the process. The contrast dye will be administered through a small needle (intravenous cannula) that will be placed in your arm.
    You may also be instructed to return for additional imaging 60-90 mins following your original scan. This is to perform a delayed scan (giving time for the gadolinium to be up taken by the liver) that will only take a few minutes.

    Duration

    MRI Liver/MRCP takes20-30 mins
    *You may be asked to come back for an additional scan 60-90 mins following the completion of your original scan*. 

  • MRI Enterography

    MRI Enterography is an examination that takes images of the small bowel.

    Preparation

    When making the appointment, you will be instructed to fast from food and water for 6 hours prior to your appointment. This will ensure the small bowel will be emptied for the examination. You will be asked to arrive to your appointment 1 hour before you are due on the MRI scanner. During this time we will be preparing you for the examination.

    Day of the scan

    When you arrive for your MRI examination, you will be asked to fill out a safety questionnaire.
    You will be given some water (approximately 1.5L) which is mixed with a mild laxative which needs to be consumed before the scan. This will occur gradually under supervision for 1 hour and provides a way for the MRI scanner to better visualise your small bowel.
    Once your small bowel has been filled with the water/laxative fluid, you will be taken through for the actual MRI scan. A small needle (intravenous cannula) will be placed in your arm to administer a muscle relaxant (buscopan) and a contrast dye (Gadolinium).
    You will lie in the scanner with a special coil over your abdomen and pelvis. This area needs to be in the centre of the magnet and you will usually go into the magnet head first. You will be given headphones and a buzzer to press if you want to talk to the technologist at any time.
    Buscopan relaxes the muscles of your bowel for about 15 minutes which ensures better imaging of your small bowel. Towards the end of the examination, the contrast dye (Gadolinium) is administered that enables our Doctors to better visualise the blood flow to the small bowel.

    Duration

    In total the examination will take about 1 ½ hours including the preparation time. The actual MRI scan will be around 30 minutes. 

    Are there any risks or Side effects?

    The mixture of water and sorbitol may induce diarrhoea which may last for the rest of the day. It is advisable to have the rest of the day off of work. Possible side effects of Buscopan include dry mouth, blurred vision, itchiness, drowsiness and increased pulse rate. If you experience any of these they should pass quickly. Rarely it can cause an inability to pass urine. In patients with untreated or unknown glaucoma it may precipitate a red swollen eye. If you experience increasing pain in the eye or deteriorating sight please go to an emergency department.
  • MRI Prostate

    MRI of the prostate is a non-invasive examination that obtains high resolution images to assess the prostate gland.

    Preparation

    When making the appointment, you will be instructed to fast from food and water for 6 hours prior to your appointment.

    Day of the Scan

    When you arrive for your examination, you will be asked to fill out a safety questionnaire. A small needle (intravenous cannula) will be placed in your arm to administer a muscle relaxant (buscopan) and a contrast dye (Gadolinium).
    You will lie in the scanner with a special coil over your pelvis. This area needs to be in the centre of the magnet and you will usually go into the magnet feet first. For most patients your head will be outside of the scanner. You will be given headphones and a buzzer to press if you want to talk to the technologist at any time.
    The scan can be noisy, but all you have to do is lie still.
    Towards the end of the examination, the contrast dye (Gadolinium) is administered through the line in your arm.

    Duration

    MRI of the prostate takes 30-45 minutes.

  • MRI Pelvis (rectum / anal fistula/urethral diverticula)

    Preparation

    When making the appointment, you will be instructed to fast from food and water for 6 hours prior to your appointment.

    Day of the Scan

    When you arrive for your examination, you will be asked to fill out a safety questionnaire.
    You will lie in the scanner with a special coil over your pelvis. This area needs to be in the centre of the magnet and you will usually go into the magnet feet first. For many patients your head will be outside of the scanner. You will be given headphones and a buzzer to press if you want to talk to the technologist at any time.
    The scan can be noisy, but all you have to do is lie still.

    Duration

    MRI of the pelvis takes 20-30 minutes.

  • MRI Female Pelvis (Gynecological)

    MRI of the female pelvis is a non-invasive examination that obtains high resolution images accessing the internal structures of the female pelvis.

    Preparation

    When making the appointment, you will be instructed to fast from food and water for 6 hours prior to your appointment. If your doctor is looking for adenomyosis you will be given an appointment in the second half of your menstrual cycle (>day 14) to ensure an optimal examination

    Day of the Scan

    When you arrive for your examination, you will be asked to fill out a safety questionnaire and a form with more clinical information that is used by our Doctors in assessing your individual case.
    You will lie in the scanner with a special coil over your pelvis. This area needs to be in the centre of the magnet and you will usually go into the magnet feet first. For many patients your head will be outside of the scanner. You will be given headphones and a buzzer to press if you want to talk to the technologist at any time.
    The scan can noisy, but all you have to do is lie still.
    Gynecological MRI involves the use of a muscle relaxant (buscopan). This is administered through a needle placed in your arm muscles like a vaccination (intramuscular). On some occasions, a contrast dye (gadolinium) may be required. If this is required the technologist will explain the process. The contrast dye will be administered through a small needle (intravenous cannula) that will be placed in an arm vein.

    Duration

    Gynecological MRI takes 30 mins.

  • MRI Cardiac

    Cardiac MRI is a noninvasive procedure that obtains structural and functional images of the heart and surrounding vessels.

    Preparation

    When making your appointment, you will be instructed to fast from all stimulants (caffeine, nicotine etc.) for 6 hours prior to your examination. If you are currently taking medication for your condition, you can continue to do so.

    Day of the scan

    When you arrive for your examination, you will be asked to fill out a safety questionnaire.
    You will lie in the scanner with a special coil over your chest. This area needs to be in the centre of the magnet and you will usually go into the magnet head first. Your heart rate must be monitored throughout the examination, so the technologist will place some small electrodes on your chest and connect these to a battery operated monitor for the duration of the examination. You will be given headphones and a buzzer to press if you want to talk to the technologist at any time.
    During the examination you will be instructed to hold your breath, enabling for clearer pictures to be obtained. Each breathe hold ranges from 10-15 secs.
    In some cases, an injection of a contrast dye (gadolinium) is required. If this is required the technologist will inform you beforehand and explain the process. The contrast dye will be administered through a small needle (intravenous cannula) that will be placed in your arm.

    Duration

    Cardiac MRI takes between 45mins-1hr.

  • MRI Breast

    MRI Breast studies may be done for Screening for Breast Cancer, Breast Cancer Staging or Breast Implant assessment.

    Screening

    Several women may benefit from a breast MRI. Studies have shown that MRI has a higher sensitivity in detecting breast cancer than other screening methods do.

    In particular it is most beneficial in those women at a higher risk of breast cancer, either from family or personal history, genetic risks (BRCA1 and 2 carriers) or past history of atypical cells on a biopsy. There are also some women who have dense breasts where the MMG is more difficult to interpret and where the surrounding normal breast tissue hides the cancers.

    Your doctor will discuss your risk factors with you and whether MRI may be beneficial for you. Breast MRI is used as a supplemental form of screening. It does not replace your routine mammograms.

    Staging

    Your breast surgeon may recommend this study after the diagnosis of breast cancer has been made on Mammogram, Tomosynthesis and Ultrasound, following biopsy.

    Not all breast cancers are the same, and they aren't all treated in the same way, which is why having further testing and getting the most accurate diagnosis is so important. Breast MRI is helpful in determining the size of your breast cancer, how much of the breast is involved and so will assist your surgeon in what type of surgery is best for you and potentially whether you may need additional treatment including radiotherapy and/or chemotherapy.

    Implant Assessment

    Implant MRI is NOT a cancer study. Implant MRI is the most sensitive test available to assess your implants and any potential complications. The MRI scan assesses the integrity of your breast implants and whether they are ruptured and if there are any potential complications such as change in shape of your implant, fluid around the implant, and if there is silicone within lymph nodes.

    The MRI coil does not compress the breast and there is NO risk to the implant during the procedure. There is NO injection of contrast dye.

    Preparation

    When making your appointment for a Breast MRI, our staff will ask you questions about your menstrual cycle.

    It is important that this study is done during day 7-14 of your menstrual cycle if you have one, as it is more sensitive for the detection of small cancers in the breast.

    This menstrual cycle guide is used for Screening studies but not for Staging studies as results are expedited so you may commence your treatment as soon as possible.

    If you no longer have a menstrual cycle or require an urgent Breast MRI for Cancer Staging, our clerical team is trained to accommodate your individual appointment needs.

    An Implant MRI requires no preparation.

    Day of the scan

    When you arrive for your examination, you will be asked to fill out a MRI safety questionnaire and a clinical history form that is used by our Doctors in assessing your individual case.   Prior to the examination, our specially trained staff will take you through, explain the examination, discuss any concerns and prepare you for your examination. This process can take up to 15 minutes before you get onto the MRI scanner.

    You will lie in the scanner on your front with your arms above your head and your breasts will lay in a special coil, which is not tight like a mammogram. Your breasts need to be in the centre of the magnet and you will go into the magnet feet first. The scan is noisy, so you will be given headphones with music and a buzzer to press if you want to talk to the technologist at any time.

    It is important that you lie still.

    Please advise our staff if you suffer from claustrophobia, as this may affect your ability to keep still and we may be able to arrange a muscle relaxant for you prior to your appointment to assist in coping with the scan.

    Breast MRI involves the use of a contrast dye (Gadovist), which is administered through a needle (intravenous cannula) placed in your arm. This is not necessary for Implant scans.

    Duration

    The entire process (preparation and imaging) can take 30-45mins.

  • MRI Breast (Biopsy)

    Preparation

    Please advise our staff when your appointment is made if you are on blood thinning agents - for example warfarin, aspirin, and fish or krill oil. We may ask you to stop these medications or consult with your specialist who is referring you for the study

    Please fast for 4 hours prior to the procedure, as you will lie on your stomach for approx. 45mins.

    Day of the scan

    When you arrive for your examination, you will be asked to fill out a safety questionnaire and a form that is used by our Doctors in assessing your individual case.  

    You will lie in the scanner on your front with your breasts in a special coil (the same as when you underwent your diagnostic scan) and enter the scanner feet first. During the examination, you will have a normal diagnostic scan which will involve the injection of contrast dye (Gadovist) to locate the area to be biopsied.

    During the biopsy process, the bed you are lying still on will be moved in and out of the machine for additional imaging to ensure the correct region of interest is being targeted and for placement of the biopsy needle.

    The scan is noisy so you will be given headphones and a buzzer to press if you want to talk to the technologist at any time. It is important that during the procedure, you lie extremely still.

    After the biopsy is completed one of our trained nurses will compress on the biopsy site for 10-15mins, and then place steri-strips bandage on the small skin incision. You will have a bruise that typically lasts for 2 weeks and you may manage any bruising or discomfort with compression and ice packs and pain relief such as paracetamol if required.

    Once the biopsy has been completed, a site marker is placed within the biopsy site whilst still in the MRI machine, so that the area may be identified by either MMG or Ultrasound for future reference. It may also be useful if any surgery is required depending upon the biopsy result. The site marker is made of either titanium or stainless steel; it is inert and safe to stay in your body indefinitely. It does not 'beep' at airport security. A Mammogram will be performed after the site marker has been placed to confirm its position.

    Duration

    The entire process (preparation and imaging) can take 45-60mins.

  • MRI Brain, Skull Base or Nasopharynx

    Preparation

    No preparation is required

    Day of the Scan

    When you arrive for your examination, you will be asked to fill out a safety questionnaire.

    You will lie on the scanner and a special coil will be placed over your head to help obtain the images. For all Brain, Skull Base or Nasopharynx imaging, you will enter the scanner head first. You will go into the scanner until your head is in the centre of the scanner, from your waist down should remain out of the scanner. A small mirror is positioned above your head which acts like a periscope. This gives you the feeling of spaciousness and allows you to see out of the scanner. You will be given headphones or earplugs and a buzzer to press if you want to talk to the technologist at any time. The scan is noisy, but all you have to do is lie still.

    On some occasions, a contrast dye (gadolinium) may be required. If this is required the technologist will explain the process. The contrast dye will be administered through a small needle (intravenous cannula) that will be placed in your arm.

    Duration

    MRI of the Brain usually takes 20-25 mins.
    MRI of the Skull Base or Nasopharynx can be 25-45 mins.