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Radiology (Xray)

MRI Scan

MRI Appointments: RVI Radiology: (0191) 282 4330 Freeman Radiology: (0191) 223 1012

IntroductionShow [+]Hide [-]

This webpage is designed to give you some information about having a MRI Scan, to help you prepare for your scan and give you some idea of what to expect when you attend.


What is MRI?Show [+]Hide [-]

Magnetic Resonance Imaging or MRI for short is a method of obtaining highly detailed pictures of the inside of your body.  A powerful magnet, radio-waves and a computer are used.  The technique does not use x-rays and there are no known side effects.

Will anything prevent me from having an MRI Scan?Show [+]Hide [-]

 Yes: an MRI scan may not suitable if you have any of the following:

·         Cardiac pacemaker or defibralator

·         Aneurysm clips in your head

·         Inner ear (cochlear) implants

·         Metallic fragments in your eyes

·         Some old types of heart valves

·         Some types of Aortic Stents

If you do have any of these please telephone the hospital department you are attending immediately (contact numbers are listed at the top of this webpage) and we will be able to advise you appropriately.

If you have any other metallic implants it is perfectly safe for you to have your scan, however if you have had metallic implants placed within the last 6 weeks it is important that you let us know.

Do I need any special preparation before the examination?Show [+]Hide [-]

You will be advised in your appointment letter if you require any specific preparation instructions and it is important that you read your appointment letter carefully. 

Continue to take any medication prescribed by your doctor unless advised not to in your appointment letter.

If possible try to wear clothing without metal zip fastenings or clips. If this is not possible a hospital gown and changing facilities are provided.

Please do not wear make-up or mascara.  Mascara contains ‘ferric’ (metal) compounds, which may lead to distortion of images.

If you wear glasses for reading, please bring them with you.

If possible, please try to leave the following personal items at home: watches, jewellery, credit cards, keys, hairgrips, cigarette lighters, coins, penknives and any other loose metallic objects.

If you do bring any personal items you will be able to lock them away during your scan.

What happens before my scan?Show [+]Hide [-]

When you arrive in the department you should report to the Radiology Reception desk, where your personal details will be checked to ensure that our records are accurate and up to date.

You will then be directed towards the MRI waiting room and asked to hand in or complete a questionnaire.

A radiographer will then speak to you, checking through your questionnaire and also explain the scanning procedure to you. The radiographer will be able to answer any questions you may have regarding your scan.


What does the examination involve?Show [+]Hide [-]

Depending upon which area of the body we are scanning, the examination will be performed slightly differently.  As a general guide the area to be scanned needs to be positioned in the centre of the scanner.  You will enter the scanner either head first or feet first depending upon the area. 

A radiographer will escort you into the scanning suite and show you the scanner.

A special coil will be positioned around the area being scanned.  This helps to obtain very high quality images.

You will be moved into the scanner and your scan will begin.

During your scan you will hear some very loud tapping noises while the scanner is working.  This is a normal part of the scan and nothing to worry about. You will be given ear protection to wear during your scan.

All that is expected of you while your scan is being performed is that you keep as still as possible.  Certain areas of examination may require you to hold your breath for short periods of time.  The radiographer will explain this to you prior to starting the scan.

The radiographers can talk to you through an intercom and you can also talk to them. The intercom can also be used to transmit music. We do have a small collection of CD’s to listen to, or if preferred, you may bring your own.


Will I need an injection?Show [+]Hide [-]

For some types of scans, a small injection will be administered into a vein in your arm.  This can sometimes give us useful information.   You should experience no side effects.

How does it feel?Show [+]Hide [-]

Apart from the noise of the scanner and some associated vibrations you should not experience anything to cause any discomfort.

What if I feel anxious about my MRI scan or suffer from claustrophobia?Show [+]Hide [-]

Some patients may be anxious about their MRI scan or suffer from claustrophobia.   If you are worried about this, you should contact the department - we can arrange for you to visit the MR Unit, to talk the examination through with our staff and have a look at the MR Scanner itself.  If you are still anxious, or have failed to complete a scan because you are claustrophobic, you can ask your GP if it is possible for him/her to prescribe appropriate sedation. 

Please note that sedation may not be appropriate if the area you are having examined is your chest, heart, or abdomen area. Please contact us for further advice on:

Freeman MRI Scanner: 0191 2231880  

RVI MRI Scanner: 0191 2824269

If your doctor has prescribed sedation, you should follow the recommendations as below:

  • No alcohol for 24 hours
  • No driving for 24 hours
  • You will need to be accompanied home
  • You will need a responsible adult at home
  • No DIY for 24 hours

What if I am pregnant?Show [+]Hide [-]

If you think you may be pregnant it is very important that you ring the department before your scan (contact numbers are listed in your appointment letter). From this information, x-ray staff will decide if there is cause for the MRI examination to be postponed or if it is appropriate to continue.



How long will the scan take?Show [+]Hide [-]

Usually your scan can last for anything between 20-60 minutes, although if more than one area is to be scanned, then your examination is likely to take proportionately longer.


When will I get my results?Show [+]Hide [-]

After your scan has finished the radiographer will not be able to tell you the results.  If you have come from home, the results will be sent back to the doctor who referred you for your scan.  This process takes approximately 2-3 weeks, so unless other arrangements have been made you should expect to hear something after this time.

If you are undergoing planned investigations on a ward, the result will be sent to the ward as soon as possible.  The doctors on the ward may be able to discuss the findings with you.



What are the benefits of having a MRI scan?Show [+]Hide [-]

This examination will help us make a correct diagnosis so you will be able to be given the correct treatment.

What are the risks of having a MRI scan?Show [+]Hide [-]

MRI scanning does not use x-rays and there are no known side effects.

Can I drive home?Show [+]Hide [-]

Yes unless you have had sedation in which case we advise you not to drive following your scan.

I need an ambulance/ transport. Do you arrange this?Show [+]Hide [-]

If you need an ambulance/ transport, you should ask your GP Surgery to arrange it. You will need to give them three working days notice.  Please note that hospital transport is provided on medical need only.  If your ambulance cannot get you to the hospital for your appointment time please contact us on the number below and we will rearrange your appointment to coincide with ambulance arrivals as best as possible.  Please note this may mean we need to change the date of your scan.


What if I cannot attend for my appointment?Show [+]Hide [-]

If your appointment time is not convenient please contact the hospital department so that a more appropriate time can be arranged.  This will enable us to reallocate valuable scanning time to someone else.


RVI Radiology Appointments                 0191 282 4330 (8.30am-5.00pm)

Freeman Radiology Appointments       0191 223 1012 (8.30am-5.00pm)



What if I have any questions?Show [+]Hide [-]

If you have any worries or concerns before you attend for your appointment, then please do not hesitate to contact the hospital department you are attending (see above numbers) and we will be happy to help however we can.  If you have any other questions when you attend for your scan then please ask.

Information from your diagnostic test will contribute to the Diagnostic Imaging Dataset. Show [+]Hide [-]

The Diagnostic Imaging Dataset (DID) is a database that holds information on the imaging tests and scans carried out on NHS patients. This will allow the Health and Social Care Information Centre to see how different tests are used across the country.

Nothing will ever be reported that identifies you.  All information is stored securely. It is only made available to appropriate staff, and is kept strictly confidential. However, if you do not want your information to be stored in the DID, please tell the people who are treating you. They will make sure your information is not copied into the DID.

You may, at a later date, still decide to opt out.  Please contact the Health and Social Care Information Centre directly, their contact details are:

Telephone: 0845 300 6016 



What if I have any comments or suggestions?Show [+]Hide [-]

Should you have any suggestions or concerns, please make these known to the person conducting your examination or by letter addressed to the hospital that you are attending your examination:

The Departmental Manager                      

X-ray Department Level 3                         

Royal Victoria Infirmary                             

Queen Victoria Road                                 

Newcastle upon Tyne                                

NE1 4LP                                                       

Tel: (0191) 282 1099             


The Departmental Manager 

Main X-ray Department 

Freeman Hospital     

High Heaton

Newcastle upon Tyne      

NE7 7DN          

Tel: (0191)282 1099

Monday to Friday 8.30am to 5.00pm

All Newcastle Hospitals: Switchboard Tel: (0191) 233 6161 (24 hours)

The Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) can offer on-the-spot advice and information about the NHS.  You can contact them on freephone 0800 032 02 02 or email

Information Produced by: Sarah Branfoot Superintendent Radiographer

© Copyright Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust 2020 Site by TH_NK