MRI Magnetic Resonance Imaging

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) uses an exceptionally strong magnet, radio frequency waves and a sophisticated computer to generate detailed images of the body. No x-rays or ionising radiation is used.

The magnetic field and radiofrequency waves have not been shown to cause any long-term effects, but please advise our staff before your MRI if you know you are, or could possibly be pregnant.

All MRI imaging for The Women's Imaging Centre is performed at our South Coast Radiology Southport site.  For information on MRI Breast Imaging please click the following link:  MRI Breast Imaging

Before your MRI

Because a strong magnet is used, patients with certain ferromagnetic implanted devices or prostheses should not have MRI scans. When you arrive, you will be asked to answer a series of safety questions. Patients with cardiac pacemakers, metal heart valves, some ear implants, certain brain aneurysm clips and various other medically implanted devices should not have MRI because the metal will respond to the strong magnetic field. Also, people with metallic foreign bodies in their eyes, through grinding or welding, are excluded from MRI.  These absolute contraindications to MRI are also checked at the time of booking your scan.

If you are having a scan of the abdomen or pelvis, you might need to fast before the appointment, in order to avoid bowel and stomach movement. Our staff will advise you if you need to fast, and for how long, when you make your booking. Otherwise, you may eat and drink as normal before and after the scan.

Patient's who suffer from claustrophobia might not feel comfortable within the magnet for the required time. Please advise our staff prior to your appointment if you are claustrophobic, so that we can discuss your options.

Because of the strong magnetic field you must store any coins, keys, phones, mechanical watches, credit cards, metal objects or magnetic storage media in a locker outside the scan room. The radiographer will ask you to change into a gown, and to remove extraneous metal, including piercings and jewellery.

During your MRI

The MRI machine combines a doughnut-shaped magnet with a padded couch, which moves through the centre. Throughout the scan, the radiographer will maintain visual and voice contact with you. The switching of the magnet creates a loud thumping sound, so you will be given hearing protection, which you must wear during the scan.

The scan can take from 20 to 60 minutes depending on how many areas your doctor wants scanned. During that time you must remain relaxed and very still, to avoid a blurred image.

Sometimes, a small dose of gadolinium is injected through the arm vein to temporarily alter the magnetic properties of the body tissue and enhance anatomical detail. Our radiologist will determine whether an injection is needed, at the time of your scan.

MRI is painless and you will not feel any after effects, so you can resume normal activity straight away.

At The Women's Imaging Centre, we accept MRI referrals from medical specialists, GPs and physiotherapists.  GPs have access to a limited number of MRI examinations for both adult and paediatric patients.  Medical specialists have access to a larger number of MRI examinations.  However, not all MRI examinations attract a Medicare rebate.

Our MRI bookings staff can discuss your options regarding whether a Medicare rebate is available for your scan, at the time of booking.  Please contact them on 5597 0677, press 1 for bookings.

Please bring any previous relevant x-rays, CT, MRI or ultrasound films, as the radiologist reporting your MRI may need this information.

After your MRI

One of our radiologists will interpret your MRI and provide your doctor with a comprehensive report about the findings. You will need to return to the health practitioner who referred you to discuss your MRI results. Processing and reporting of your MRI could take up to two hours. For your convenience we can generally deliver the images and report to your doctor by lunchtime on the next working day.

If you require the results for a follow up appointment on the day of the scan, you can wait for the films and we will fax or email the results to your doctor. Some of our referring doctors prefer that their patients wait for their films after the scan. You may arrange to collect the films at an alternative time, if you prefer that option.