Where are we?
Borders General Hospital - ground floor
When are we open?
Monday, Friday 08:30 - 17:00
Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday 08:30 - 20:30
Most weekends as staffing allows
How to contact us?
Phone - 01896 826432
Karen Gee ( Superintendent Radiographer)
What is an MRI scanner?
The MRI scanner is a large tube that is open at both ends. The scanner consists of a large magnet with a hole in the middle. A couch moves the patient in and out of the magnet. The scanner is fitted with lights, an intercom and a fan. There is a mirror to allow you to see the radiographer during some types of scan.
The MRI scanner is a very specialised piece of medical imaging equipment that takes images of the inside of your body. MRI scanners make images like "slices" through the body. MRI scanners use very strong magnetic fields and radio-waves to take images. The actual process is very complex.
Do MRI scanners use x-rays?
No. Unlike many other imaging devices in hospitals, MRI scanners don't use x-rays. As a result, you won't get any x-ray dose from having an MRI scan.
Is scanning dangerous?
There are no known dangers associated with MRI. The scan is not painful (you will not feel anything) and since it does not use ionizing radiation, there are no known side-effects.
As the MRI scanner is a very strong magnet, we have to be extremely careful about bringing metal objects into the scanning room. This is why all our patients are carefully screened and checked to ensure all metal objects are removed before they are scanned.
Do I need to prepare?
Unless you are told otherwise there is no preparation for the scan. Some scans require nil by mouth for six hours but you will be informed of this in your appointment letter.
It is helpful to come for your scan in clothing with no metal parts. Please leave any valuables at home.
You may bring along a music CD to listen to during your MRI examination.
No children should attend with you for an M.R.I. scan.
I'm claustrophobic - will I be able to have an MRI scan?
- MRI scanners have been designed to be more patient friendly in recent years.
- Many modern scanners are now shorter and have very large bores (the scanner bore is the hole in the middle of the machine you lie in for your scan).
- The inside of the scanner is well lit and has its own ventilation.
- The radiographers can see you at all times during the scan. They can see you through the window from the control room. Our MRI scanner even has closed-circuit television cameras inside it so the radiographers can see you on a television screen in the control room.
- There is a two-way intercom inside the scanner so that the radiographers can talk to you and you can talk to them at any time.
- The scanner has an alarm button for you to hold while you're in the scanner. If you need help at any time, you can push the alarm and the radiographers will help you.
- If you are severely claustrophobic and don't feel you can go in a scanner, you should discuss your concerns with your GP or the staff of the MRI unit.
- If the patient is a child it is advisable that no other children or pregnant women attend with them for their examination.
You will be able to stay with your child if necessary for their examination unless you are pregnant.
The nearest baby changing facilities are located within the disabled toilet close to reception in the Radiology department.
It is useful to bring small toys or books with you to amuse your child while waiting for their M.R.I. scan. For safety reasons children’s own toys however cannot be taken into the M.R.I. scan room.
Snacks are useful too, but best kept for after their examination if they have required to be fasted as part of their preparation for the scan. Please refer to your appointment information letter.
What will happen when I arrive at the MRI unit?
Before you enter the scan room, the MRI staff need to make sure you don't have any metal objects on you.
You will be asked to:
- Change out of your clothes into a hospital gown
- Remove metal items such as watches, belts, keys, coins, jewellery, mobile phones, credit cards etc.
- Remove piercings
- Remove metallic dentures.
- Remove make up.
- Go through the questionnaire about your past medical history.
- You may require a cannula to be put in your arm.
By wearing a hospital gown, the staff can be sure that there isn't any metal hidden in your clothes.
The MRI staff will ask you to remove jewellery as this can be pulled off by the strong magnetic field, possibly injuring you or damaging the scanner. You may wear a gold wedding band as it is not magnetic.
The MRI staff will also ask you about your past medical history to make sure you don’t have any metal implants from previous operations or metal in your body from an accident e.g. metal grinding.
· You MUST tell the staff before your scan if you have:
- Artificial heart valve
- Cochlear implant
- Aneurysm clip
- History of metal fragments in the eyes
If you have any doubts whatsoever when filling in the questionnaire, please inform the staff.
What will happen when I'm inside the scanner?
- The radiographers will help you onto the scanning table.
- They will position a coil over the part of your body that's going to be imaged.
- They will then slide you on the couch into the magnet.
- The radiographers will issue you with ear protection (ear defenders) before helping you into the scanner. You will also get a panic button to use in an emergency.
- Once the radiographers have positioned you inside the scanner, they will go out of the room into a room next door.
- They will be able to see you at all times through a large window. Also, they will be able to talk to you and listen to you through an intercom system. If you have any concerns you only have to say.
- The radiographers will tell you what is going to happen at each stage of your scan.
- They will ask you to remain as still as possible during the scan.
- The may also ask you to do things such as hold your breath for a few seconds while they are scanning.
- You may not be prepared for the noise that an MRI scanner makes. Whilst scanning, MRI scanners make clunking or buzzing noises. These are quite normal but can be very loud.
How long will a scan take?
That will depend on what is being scanned, but a typical examination lasts between 20 and 60 minutes. You should always allow extra time in case the examination lasts longer than expected.
Will I need an injection?
Sometimes, yes. For a few types of scan you will need a contrast agent in order to give a clearer picture of the area being scanned. It will be injected through a vein in your arm. The radiographers/ATOs will be able to answer any questions you have.
Will the radiographer give me my results?
No. The scans will reported by one of our radiologists at a later time. Please do not ask the radiographer/ATO for the result as they are not able to provide you with the result.
What happens after the scan?
There are no side effects of the scan and you will be able to return to your normal daily routine without any problems. Driving is also permitted after the scan unless you are advised otherwise.
We aim to make your experience with us as stress free as possible. For any further information or questions regarding these services please contact the department on: 01896 826417 or alternatively complete our online contact form.