What is an MRI scan?
An MRI scanner uses strong magnetic fields and radio waves to take detailed images of what’s going on inside your body. The images it produces enable doctors to diagnose and pinpoint a wide range of different medical conditions. These include problems with joints and muscles, back pain, pelvic pain, womb abnormalities, breast cancer, heart defects and disease, brain and spinal cord damage, as well as abnormalities and cysts, tumours and diseases affecting internal organs.
Why might I need a private MRI scan?
Whilst MRI scans are available on the NHS, most hospitals are extremely busy and there are waiting times for initial appointments, meaning it could be weeks or possibly months before you get a diagnosis. By opting for a private MRI scan, you will not only have the scan very quickly – sometimes on the same day – but you will also receive the results of the scan quickly too.
The advantages of a private MRI scan
There are many advantages of opting to pay for a private MRI scan:
- You can self-refer which means you will not need to get a referral from your GP.
- There will be no waiting times – SameDayDoctor has walk-in availability.
- You will be able to book an appointment at a time that suits you.
- You will get the results quickly – within days rather than weeks.
- Your SameDayDoctor GP will spend time going through the results with you.
- You will have access to your scans.
What happens during an MRI scan?
An MRI scanner is a cylindrical tunnel. You will be asked to lie on a flat bed which will be moved into the scanner to place the part of your body being scanned in the centre of the scanner. It is a confined space which some people find claustrophobic, so it may be worth thinking about ways of distracting yourself while you’re in the scanner, or asking the team to play your favourite music. The scanner can be quite noisy because the coils make tapping sounds when electricity is passed through them and there will be clanking noises, but you will be given earplugs or earphones to wear so the advice is to make sure it’s loud enough to be heard.
Rest assured there is an intercom so you will be able to talk to the radiography team and they will be able to see you at all times through a monitor.
You will need to lie as still as possible throughout the procedure to ensure the images are as sharp as possible. Depending on the size of the area being scanned, the MRI scan will last anything between 15 and 90 minutes.
Why choose SameDayDoctor for your MRI scan?
SameDayDoctor was established 20 years ago to provide high quality private medical care at an affordable price. We have clinics in London and Manchester, all of which are open at weekends, enabling you to access medical services at a time that suits you. We have access to a range of medical services via our partner clinics, including MRI scans, which we can arrange quickly and at your convenience.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long does an MRI scan take?
Your MRI scan could last anywhere from 15 to 90 minutes, depending on what part of your body is being scanned.
Are there any risks or side effects of MRI scans?
MRI scanners use radio waves and strong magnetic fields. For most people, an MRI scan is safe, and can even be done in pregnancy. However, the strong magnetic fields make them unsafe for anyone with a pacemaker or any kind of metal in the body, such as metal plates, rods, screws, implants and wires.
Sometimes dyes are used during the procedure which, in rare cases, can produce an allergic reaction.
If you are worried about any aspect of the MRI scan, please feel free to talk to us or discuss it with the radiographer before the scan begins.
Can I eat or drink before the scan?
In most cases, you can eat and drink normally before your scan, unless told otherwise. In some cases, you will be asked not to eat or drink for four hours beforehand.
Will I experience claustrophobia during the scan?
Unsurprisingly, because it is a confined space, many people will feel claustrophobic when they are inside an MRI scanner. However, there are steps you can take to help you relax as much as possible. You will be able to play music in the scanner, so choose something that you will find relaxing, although you will need to be able to hear it over the noises of the scanner. You will be in constant contact with your radiographer, so there will always be someone to talk to and to reassure you. You can also do breathing exercises or find ways of distracting yourself, such as meditation techniques or counting exercises. There is plenty of advice online from people who have developed techniques based on their own experience.
How soon can I get the results of a private MRI scan?
Once the scan is complete, a radiologist will examine the images and send us their report, usually within a few days.
How much does a private MRI scan cost?
The cost depends on the size of the area that is being scanned. Our Central London charges start from £550 which includes the consultation fee.