What is an MRI?
An MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) is a scan that uses a strong magnetic field to form detailed pictures of inside the body. MRI scans can show parts of the body not visible using a traditional X-ray. Soft tissue, fat, cartilage, tendons, bone, internal organs and muscles will all be well demonstrated on an MRI scan.
An MRI study is often considered the gold standard medical imaging examination for most areas of the body.
At QDI, we use both 3T and 1.5T MRI scanners and can scan all body regions.
How should I prepare?
Most of the time, an MRI doesn’t need any specific preparation. However, an abdominal or bowel MRI may require fasting before your appointment. When you book your appointment, we’ll discuss any preparation needed for your particular procedure.
You should let us know when you make the appointment:
- if you have a pacemaker, brain aneurysm clips, heart clips, ear implants, cochlear implants or any other implanted devices or prostheses
- if you have any metallic foreign bodies in your body, including shrapnel
- if you have had eye surgery
- if you’re pregnant, or may possibly be pregnant
- if you suffer from claustrophobia.
How long does it take?
An MRI scan takes between 15 and 60 minutes to complete. If your doctor has requested hard copies of the scan images, there will be a short wait after your appointment while we prepare these for you.
What can I expect during the MRI?
Before the scan begins, you’ll be asked to leave items like phones, jewellery, coins, keys, belts and credit cards outside the examination room. The equipment used has a strong magnetic field and could damage your property. Where possible, we suggest that you leave items like this at home.
An MRI scanner is a large, cylindrical shape, with a padded couch table at its centre. A large circular magnet is housed inside the big cylinder.
The MRI technician will position you correctly on the padded table and you’ll be asked to stay as still as possible for the entire examination. The technician will then operate the MRI scanner from the adjacent room. You’ll be able to hear and talk with the technician during the examination, but you must not move or change position during the scan. If you do move, the results will not be accurate and the examination may need to be started again or rescheduled.
During the MRI, the equipment makes some clicks and noises as the magnetic field changes throughout the examination. These noises can sometimes sound loud but are completely normal.
What will it cost?
If you have a current Medicare card and referral form from your health practitioner, you may be able to claim a Medicare rebate. If there’s an out-of-pocket expense, we’ll let you know when you book your appointment. Every MRI Scan is dependent on the site and Medicare license.
When will I get the results?
We’ll prepare a report for your doctor or health practitioner and send it electronically after 24 hours. Urgent test results are available after four hours.
You should make an appointment with your referring doctor to receive and talk about your test results.
Where can we have an MRI?
QDI performs MRI scans at a number of clinics:
- Varsity Lakes, Gold Coast
- Kawana Medical Imaging, Sunshine Coast
- Tweed Hospital
- St Vincent’s Private Hospital Northside
- Ipswich – Limestone Street
- Brisbane Private Imaging
What happens if I feel claustrophobic during my MRI?
At QDI, our MRI equipment is modern and well-designed to minimise claustrophobia. Unlike older machines, the opening in the machine is relatively large and there is more space between the ‘ceiling’ of the machine and your face.
Our equipment also uses the latest technology to complete scans faster, so you spend less time in the MRI scanner.
The inside of the MRI is bright and well-lit. And if you’re concerned about the noise from the scanner, our technician can give you earplugs or a headset to help block the sound. In some centres, you will be offered a selection of music to listen to during your test. The technician can hear you at all times, so you’ll be able to communicate any questions or concerns. There is also a call button for you to hold and squeeze if necessary.
Of course, your head may not even need to be inside the scanner—it depends on what part of your body is being examined.
If you feel worried about your MRI scan, please speak to us or your doctor so we can work with you to find suitable techniques and solutions.
Should I have an MRI if I’m pregnant?
An MRI uses magnetic fields, not radiation, to produce images. Over the last three decades, MRI has been used when necessary during pregnancy without any side effects. Generally, MRI scans are avoided in the first trimester of pregnancy. If an MRI is needed during pregnancy, the use of contrasts will be avoided.
If your doctor refers you for an MRI during your pregnancy, it’s likely that this is the best way for an important or urgent examination to be performed. You should talk to your doctor to find out more about your situation and their recommendation.
What is a contrast and will it be needed?
A contrast is a liquid that’s either injected intravenously or taken orally before a scan or procedure.
A contrast is sometimes injected before an MRI scan, providing additional information that can help diagnose certain medical conditions. When you make your booking, we can let you know if a contrast will be used for your procedure. The contrast is usually provided as an IV (intravenous) fluid. You’ll only feel minor discomfort while our experienced nurse or radiographer sets up the IV.
What sort of MRI equipment is used?
At QDI, we use both 1.5T scanners and 3T scanners. These scanners use a powerful magnetic field, in combination with radio waves, to create detailed images.
With the option of both 1.5T and 3T scanners, our technicians can choose the most effective equipment, balancing image quality with examination time.
Delayed Gadolinium Enhanced MRI of Cartlidge (dGEMRIC)
- Loss of GAG indicates early cartilage damage which can identify early stages of Osteoarthritis (OA).
- Measures Glycosaminoglycans (GAG) which maintain osmotic pressure and fluid within cartilage.
- Also useful in the assessment of Femoroacetublar impingement (FAI).
- Pt arrives 1 hr prior to appointment time.
- Given an injection of contrast is given.
- The pt. then has to move around constantly/exercise for 45 mins.
- Pt is then scanned in MRI for approx. 45 mins.
- Images are pickup the following day and the report is sent directly to the referring Dr (within 48hours)