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MRI Scan

What is an MRI scan?

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is a diagnostic scanning technique based on the principles of magnetic resonance. MRI uses a strong magnetic field and radio frequency waves to produce detailed images of the internal organs and tissues. It can be used to investigate almost any part of the body and is most commonly used to examine the brain, joints and discs in the spine. No radiation is involved in an MRI scan.



1. Are MRI Scans Safe?

An MRI scan is a painless procedure and there are no known risks or side effects associated with MRI.

Please consult your doctor and a Affidea staff member prior to your MRI if you are or may be pregnant or if you have had surgery recently, particularly surgery that has required the insertion of metal joint replacements or clips. The scan may have to be delayed slightly to allow time for the area around the surgical site to heal prior to your scan.

Please also consult your doctor and a Affidea staff member if you have any of the follow-ing as it may not be possible to have an MRI scan:

  • Certain aneurysm clips in your head
  • Certain metallic heart valves
  • A cardiac pacemaker
  • Inner ear implants (e.g. Cochlear)
  • Some neurological stimulators
  • Metal fragments within your eye

If you have ever had metal fragments in your eye due to a penetrating injury and have not had your eyes checked, you will require an X-ray of your eyes prior to your scan to ensure there are no fragments still remaining.

2. What if I have fillings or other dental fixtures?

The MRI examination can still be carried out if you have any fillings or other dental fixtures.

3. Do I need to prepare for an MRI scan?

In general there is no preparation necessary for an MRI scan. Unless otherwise instructed, you can eat and drink normally and take any regular medication. You will be asked to read our information leaflet and complete a short safety questionnaire prior to your exam. Both of these can be downloaded on this website prior to your scan.

4. What happens during an MRI scan?

For the examination you will be asked to lie on a cushioned table and will be made as comfortable as possible. You will be given an alarm button in case you need to contact the radiographer during the examination. Throughout the examination you will hear repeated banging, buzzing and rumbling noises which stop and start. These noises are normal. You will not feel anything. The machine does not move. It is open at both ends and it cannot close.

You will be given ear phones and you may choose the music you wish to listen to during your scan.

5. Are MRI scans painful?

No. An MRI scan is a painless procedure. You must be able to keep very still and lie quite flat. If you are unable to keep still or lie flat please contact us before your scan.

6. How long will an MRI scan take?

For one part of your body to be scanned it generally takes approximately 15 minutes. Therefore, it will take proportionally longer to scan more than one part of your body. The length of the scan may also vary depending upon the diagnosis being sought, for example it often takes longer to produce high resolution images when very small anatomical structures are being scanned.

7. How do I get the results?

The radiologist will write a report to your referring doctor detailing the findings from the scan.

8. Will I feel Claustrophobic? You will be given a buzzer to press, so that you have full control, should you wish to stop the scan at any time.
Via headphones, you are in constant contact with your Radiographer.
We cater specifically for claustrophobic/nervous patients, with our wide bore MRI scanners:

Siemens 3T MAGNETOM Verio Wide Bore MRI is available in Affidea Cork.
Siemens 3T MAGNETOM Espree Wide Bore MRI is available in Northwood.
Siemens 3T MAGNETOM Espree Wide Bore MRI is available in Naas.

Wide Bore MRI means that the MRI scanner is wider, shorter and faster than usual, this provides exceptional patient comfort. It also offers excellent image quality, superb diagnostic capabilities, and exceptional patient comfort.

9. Are there any side-effects to MRI scans?
  • There are no known side effects to an MRI scan. There is no radiation used.
  • However you will be required to lie perfectly still for relatively long periods. There-fore if this is not possible another type of scan might be recommended.
  • It is not possible to have an MRI scan if you have certain aneurysm clips in your head, certain metallic heart valves, a cardiac pacemaker, cochlear implants, neuroelectrical stimulators or metal fragments in your eye. An X-ray of the eye may be performed prior to your scan if you have ever had metal fragments in your eyes.
10. Can I have an MRI scan if I am pregnant?

In general, an MRI will not be advised if you are or may be pregnant. Please inform your doctor and a Affidea staff member if you are or may be pregnant.

We are committed to providing the best rates possible for scans at our centres.
We offer fast access to scans throughout Dublin, Cork, Kilkenny, Sligo, Belfast, Naas and Letterkenny.