• Most MRI scans take 20 - 40 minutes
  • No ionising radiation
  • Uses magnetic field and radio-frequency pulses

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Everything you need to know about MRI

How MRI scans work

The MRI machine is shaped like a large tube which is open at both ends. A magnetic field and radio-frequency pulses are used to create the image which means there is no radiation at all. The magnetic field is very strong so therefore no metal can be taken into the room. You must disclose any metallic implants when you make your booking.

An MRI scan can be used to examine most parts of the body, including:

  • Brain & Spine
  • Joints, bones & muscles
  • Breast, prostate & abdomen

What to expect

An MRI scan is generally non-invasive. The radiologist may inject dye (Gadolinium) towards the end of the procedure to collect further information.

MRI scans are loud due to switching electronic currents directed through coiled electromagnets. Ear plugs or headphones are used during the scan, allowing you to listen to music. You'll also be given a buzzer to speak with the radiographer if necessary.

The day of the Scan

The day before
Drink plenty of fluids so you are well hydrated

Day of scan
Arrive 20 mins before appointment and bring any relevant previous imaging for comparison

Prior to scan
Gown and cannula if required

The MRI Scan
lie as still as possible

After the scan
Finalise appointemnt with reception

Request a MRI appointment

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Will an MRI scan hurt?

No. You will not feel anything. A call button will be given to you before the exam is started. It will allow you to maintain two way communication with the technologist at any time during the exam.

Can you scan my entire body while I am in there?

No. The MRI scanner can scan almost any part of the body but each scan is limited to a specific area. It can take from 30-60 minutes to scan each area.

Why is my whole body in the scanner if you are only scanning my head?

The area of the scanner that creates the images is located in the centre of the magnet and is called the isocentre. Therefore, in order to scan your head most of your upper body will be in the scanner. The same is true when imaging the spine and upper extremities.

Will an MRI affect my dental fillings?

No, an MRI will not cause fillings in your teeth (if in proper condition) to dislodge or come out. The metal in most fillings is not affected by the MR system's magnetic field. However, fillings and orthodontic braces may cause some distortion of the images if you are having a scan of your neck, brain or facial area.

Can my child have an MRI?

Yes. MRI scans are often preferred for children as there is no radiation used. It is helpful to show your child some videos on Youtube of an MRI machine so they are aware of the loud noise and that they have to lie very still.

Meet Dr Peter Zheng

Consultant Radiologist, Lumus Imaging, Brisbane

"We are constantly adopting the latest technology and ideas, expanding into regional, rural and metropolitan areas, and attracting professionals with genuine talent and enthusiasm at every level. "

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