Having an MRI scan

Having an MRI scan

Clinical Radiology

Please read this information leaflet before attending your MRI scan.


There can be risks when entering a strong magnetic field.

You must contact the department on 01709 424358 if any of the following apply:

  • You have a pacemaker, artificial heart valve, aneurysm clip, cardiac monitoring device, nerve stimulator or implantable drug pump
  • You have ever had metal in your eyes
  • You have cochlea ear implants
  • You are pregnant

Failure to contact the department about any of the above may result in your appointment being rebooked.

What is an MRI scan?

  • MRI means Magnetic Resonance Imaging. This uses a strong magnet and radio waves to create images.
  • It does not use ionising radiation (X-rays).
  • The examination is painless.
  • The time it takes depends on which part of the body is being scanned and ranges from as little as 10 minutes up to 90 minutes.

Preparing for your MRI scan

  • Please ensure you have received an appointment letter with this booklet and an MRI safety questionnaire.
  • Please bring the completed questionnaire with you on the day of the scan - failure to do so may require your appointment to be re-scheduled.
  • Please arrive 20 minutes before your appointment time so you can be prepared for your scan. The MRI Department is very busy and relies on your timely arrival to help us prevent delays to all our other patients, and the service to run smoothly.
  • Eye makeup should not be worn as it can interfere with the scan.
  • Any jewellery, piercings or other metallic items (i.e. belts, coins, keys, dentures with metal components, hair grips) must be removed before entering the scan room.
  • Do not take credit cards, mobile phones or hearing aids into the scan room as they can be damaged and stop working.
  • If you are bringing children to your appointment, you must bring another adult with you who can supervise them whilst you have your examination. Hospital staff cannot look after your children under any circumstances. If there is no one available to supervise your children on the day of the appointment, please telephone the appointments clerks and we will rearrange your appointment for a time convenient to you.
  • You will need to remove any drug patches on your body before the scan, please bring a replacement patch with you as replacement drug patches are not available from the MRI Department.
  • If you require an interpreter please contact the MRI Department. You will need to be able to have an independent conversation with a Radiographer and fully understand the safety questionnaire. Arrangements can be made for a professional interpreter to be present for your scan. Hospital Policy does not allow for family or friends to be accepted as interpreters.
  • Please inform the Department before your appointment if you have special mobility requirements, or if you need extra time to support your mobility requirements.
  • If you require ambulance or transport to bring you to your appointment please let the Department know so this can be arranged.

Once you arrive for your scan

  • A Radiographer will go through your safety questionnaire with you.
  • You may be asked to change into a hospital gown.
  • Lockers are available for you to store your clothing and other items in, if required.
  • Whilst lockers are available the responsibility for the safety and security of your belongings and valuables remains with you and you may wish to minimise what you bring with you for this reason.

During the scan

  • You will be placed onto the scanner either feet first or head first depending on the part of your body being examined.
  • For some scans, equipment called “Coils” will need to be placed over the body area being scanned. These are used to gather the radio wave information from the body to create the MRI images.
  • It is important to keep still during the MRI scan. Movement will blur the images and may require the scans to be repeated.
  • The scanner is very loud, so you will be provided with earplugs and headphones to wear during your scan.
  • Some people can feel warm during the scan which is normal, however, if it becomes uncomfortable please inform the Radiographers.
  • The Radiographers can see you at all times during your scan. You will be given a buzzer that you can use to alert the staff if you need them urgently.

After the scan

A Radiologist (X-ray Doctor) who specialises in  reporting these scans or appropriately trained health care professional will review your images and provide a report for the Doctor or health care professional who referred you for the MRI scan. You will usually receive a follow up clinic appointment to obtain your results. 

Gadolinuim Contrast Media

Some examinations involve an injection of contrast media (a special dye that adds further information to the scan). Your Doctor and a Radiologist will decide if it is appropriate to aid the diagnosis. A blood form will be sent to you in the post if you require a blood test before the date of your scan. The blood test is routine and is used to ensure that your kidneys are working normally, as the contrast media is passed from your body in your urine via your kidneys. It is important that the results are available before the date of your appointment so please attend for the blood test before your appointment date. If the blood results are not available for your examination we may have to reschedule your appointment.

The Radiographers will give you information about the injection on the day of your scan and will give you a booklet to take home containing relevant information following the procedure.

You will be asked contrast safety questions and to sign a form to give your permission for us to give you contrast.

Please inform the Radiographers if you have any allergies or have had a reaction to any injections or X-ray dye in the past, or if you are breast feeding.

A cannula (a small sterile plastic tube) will be placed into a vein for the injection, and will be removed once your scan is finished.

Gadolinium is a clear, colourless liquid.

Allergic reactions to Gadolinium are uncommon but can occur. Most reactions are mild and pass quickly. Severe reactions are very rare.

Please seek medical attention from your Urgent and Emergency Care Centre if you suffer any of the following delayed reactions after leaving the department:

  • Swelling of face, mouth, hands, feet or throat
  • Difficulty in breathing or swallowing
  • Rash or hive

How to contact us

MRI Appointments Clerk  

01709 424358  
Monday to Friday,  8.30am to 4.30pm
For information about your appointment or your safety questionnaire

Nursing Staff  

01709 427086
Monday to Friday,  9am to 5pm 
You may reach an answer machine. Please leave a message, and a  member of staff will ring you back.

Having an MRI - patient information leaflet
Produced by R Gillott, October 2002. 
Revised August 2005, December 2007, April 2010, January 2014, January 2015, August 2018, June 2020, November 2022. 
Revision due November 2024. Version: 10.0  
©The Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust 2022. All rights reserved.

Source URL: https://www.therotherhamft.nhs.uk/patients-and-visitors/patient-information/having-an-MRI-scan

List of links present in page
  1. https://www.therotherhamft.nhs.uk/patients-and-visitors/patient-information/having-an-MRI-scan