Top 10 MRI Questions Asked By Patients

What Is MRI?

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a type of scan that uses strong magnetic fields and radio waves to produce detailed images of the inside of the body.  It is the most accurate method to gain a detailed view of your body in comparison to X-ray, CT or other scans. To find out more, view this wiki.

What Does MRI Diagnose?

An MRI can diagnose a range of symptoms at a detailed level to allow early treatment and root cause analysis.  An MRI can diagnose the following (but not limited to). For a full list, click here.

Can I Get MRI without a GP referral?

Vitalscan offers you  MRI without a GP or specialist referral.  We review all requests by our in-house team of specialist radiology consultants who oversee your journey with Vitalscan.  If we feel you do not require  MRI, we will inform you in advance of your scan.

Does MRI Hurt?

No.  MRI is painless and involves lying down for a period of time.  More advanced scanners (like Vitalscan) have fast-scanning and relaxing videos playing whilst scanning to reduce anxiety.

Is MRI Safe?

MRI’s are the safest methods of scanning a body, as they do not expose the body to any dangerous radiation. Some patients are vulnerable to the effect of ionising (high energy) radiation e.g. Cancer patients, which makes an MRI a good test.

How Long Does MRI Take?

MRI scan takes between 10 – 20 minutes.   MRI scan with Vitalscan is up to 70% faster than other scanners or those often found in the NHS.  A typical 40 minute scan takes on average 15 minutes with Vitalscan.

Can I Request MRI on The NHS?

Yes, the NHS can offer you  MRI, but it takes much longer.  This runs the risk of your condition worsening due to the delay. The process to gain an MRI with the NHS starts with getting an appointment with your GP and then a GP agreeing to refer you for an MRI.  They may refer you to another specialist like a Physio, occupational therapist or prescribe pain killers which may provide short term remedies without getting to the root cause.

Do I Need a Contrast Injection?

In some cases, some patients require an injection which we will arrange on-site in advance of the scan.

  • There is a clinical indication, or
  • The radiologist recommends it.

Patients feel a little coolness when receiving MRI contrast because the fluid is stored at room temperature, not body temperature. Unless a patient has renal insufficiency, there are very few side effects with gadolinium (contrast).

When the radiologist adds the contrast to your veins, it enhances their visibility of:

  • Tumors
  • Inflammation
  • Certain organs’ blood supply
  • Blood vessels

While a contrast MRI provides the doctor with valuable information, they typically won’t order an MRI with contrast unless they think it’s necessary. For instance, in most cases, work-related injuries, sports injuries and back pain don’t usually call for intravenous contrast exams.

If you have concerns about receiving MRI dye, don’t be afraid to let your doctor and radiologist know, too, as they have the experience and training to address these concerns. The decision to provide a contrast is typically condition- and patient-specific. However, it’s always open for discussion.

If you have problems with your kidneys, the doctor will often decrease the dose or perform a different test. Your doctor can also pre-treat for allergic reactions or select a different type of contrast agent. In some cases, they may perform the scan without contrast to reduce the risks. In all cases, they’ll use the smallest contrast amount possible.

What Is the Cost Of MRI Scan?

In the UK, the cost of  1 part scan and report varies between £350 – £800 depending on the center, location and complexity. There are often additional charges for results and reports within 1 week. Further charges are also made for sharing your report on a CD or digital file.

Vitalscan offers the most competitive priced MRI scans in the UK, as we are a radiologist led centre (not an army of managers), providing you direct access to specialists.

Vitalscan offers fixed prices for all MRI scans. See here -> Private MRI Scan.

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