Having an MRI scan at Great Western Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

It’s really helped my diagnosis and also
then the treatment I have received following it.
It’s really important that if you are asked to come that you do because it’s going to
really help. An MRI scan involves the use of a magnetic
field and radio waves which generates highly detailed pictures of internal structures and
organs. It gives the doctors very detailed imaging in which diagnoses can be made.
In the letter that you receive from the department it will have your appointment details with
where to go and what time you will need to be there. It will have an MRI information
guide to give you a basis on what the process is, what an MRI scanner does and also then
it will give you a safety questionnaire within that to. If you tick yes to any of the questions
it gives you a contact number to call the department on so they can pull your case notes.
We will then ask them about the question they have and then if need be we’ll then investigate
further by looking at their medical notes and basically go through a rigorous process
making sure that if there is any issues they are cleared for going into the MRI scan environment.
In regards to what you can wear it has to be metal free. You can bring loose clothing
which contains no metal also you can wear that in and if not they have gowns here which
you can put on. I made sure I got some joggers and a top with no metal on so I can change
into that prior to the scan. We would recommend that patients remove all
jewellery prior to scans. Some wedding rings and things we can keep on because they don’t
cause too much problems but piercings particularly and hair grips have the potential for working
loose and could degrade the image quality as well.
If you want to bring someone with you, say if you feel a bit apprehensive or maybe claustrophobic
there is an opportunity for you to bring someone. It’s best to contact the department before
to give them a heads up before that. If you go through the main atrium there is a reception
desk there and they can direct you to the radiology department. You got through to the
MRI and scanning entrance which then on the right hand side is the reception desk. They’ll
confirm your name, address and date of birth just to make sure they have the right person.
And once they have confirmed that they give you a sticker which has all your details on
and also the examination you are having. So you’ll keep hold of that sticker and take
that through and they will direct you to the MRI waiting room and book you in to make sure
that the staff in the MRI area are aware that you are here. It’s very reassuring because
you are aware this is definitely I’ve got the right details, they know what examination
I am having and they are aware I am in the department to so that’s nice to know.
Either the radiographer or one of our clinical support workers will meet the patient and
bring them through to the changing area. Where we will then check their details and go through
the safety questionnaire and discuss with them any particulars of their scan they are
going to have on that day. And if there are any queries the radiographer
will check through those put prior to actually entering the scanning the radiographer will
always have to sign it off. It’s signed by the patient on the day and the radiographer
on the day and it’s also dated as well. There is a locker which you are allowed to
leave all your stuff in, so if you have anything that you want to bring your phone etc. that
you can’t bring in to the scanner with you. You are able to leave that in the locker and
that’s safe. We can put all their belongings and valuables
into lockers which are then sealed while they’re having their scan done. So the only the patient
then has the access to the locker so their valuables will be kept safe. We try to make
the patients as comfortable as possible while they are in the MRI room. We can do this by
several means we can put pads under parts of their body to try and take away some discomfort.
We can put pads under their knees, we’ve got pillows, we’ve got other foam pads which
we can position as well but this does depend on the area of the body that we are examining.
When you go into the scanner they’ll give you a safety buzzer and also a set of headphones
and through these headphones you’ll be able to hear the radiographer speak to you and
also the music of your choice if you brought some in
The patient will have a safety buzzer so for any point during the scan if the patient feels
that they need a help or assistance, if they need to come out they can then just press
the safety buzzer and then we can then assist them.
I find to get comfy is best to make sure when you just firstly lay down that you are comfortable
and they put a cushion under your legs which can help in some scans to alleviate any back
pain or anything and just to give yourself kind of a good wriggle room before because
after you’ve gone in you really do need to stay still as possible.
It is important to keep as still as possible when the scans are being performed. The main
reason for this it helps to reduce what we call ‘Motion Artefact’ on the images.
Otherwise we can get blurred images which might need us to repeat that particular sequence
again. We try and speak to the patients as much as we can normally we do this in between
the sequences when there is a quiet time and so not to distract them too much cause sometimes
we might come over the headphones and speak to them and it might cause them to sort of
wonder what’s happening so we tend to give them do the scan, let them know what’s coming
up, if how long the next scan is going to be, just check that they’re okay and keep
them informed as we progress. The noise in the scanner is quite strange
and every scan has a different sound so it’s not the same throughout the whole scan but
it’s quite repetitive and it can sometimes feel like the table is moving slightly but
that’s just the vibrations that’s coming off from the scanner but again that’s nothing
to be concerned about, that is the scanner getting the pictures that they need.
Each scan can be very different in time scales- it can really vary from ten minutes anything
up to an hour depending what scan that you are having and they let you know in between
each scan saying ‘the next scan will last five minutes, the next scan will last ten
minutes etc’. If the patient has any issues with being claustrophobic
depending on the part of the body that’s being imaged we can either take them to the
scanner feet first. If that’s not possible then they have to go in head first but we
can then sort of explain how everything is going to work, explain to them that we will
give them headphones to keep the noise levels down and also to allow us to speak to them
I personally wasn’t claustrophobic but I’m aware of friends and family that have been
very claustrophobic. It’s an open ended tunnel. It’s not – you’re not enclosed
in an area and also with the scanner here they have a mirror so you can actually see
your feet out which can be quite helpful I think for people because you’re aware that
there is an exit point. You have to kind of understand the pictures that they are getting
from this would really help the doctors understand what is wrong with you. So you kind off need
to make sure that you have that in your mind and kind of work through if you do have fears
of it cause really there is nothing to be scare off, it’s very safe way of getting
images, and you wouldn’t feel a thing when you are in there
Generally we try to make it as pleasant an experience as possible by explaining what’s
going to happen at all stages and just try to put them at ease. We’re going to the
MRI room after the examinations completed, bring the patient back out of the scanner
and then sit them up and some patients can sometimes feel a bit dizzy after lying down
so we just make sure that any dizziness passes before we stand them up then walk them out
of the room. We take them back to the cubicle where they can their belongings and then allow
the patients to change. Assuming that you feel fine once your scans
done and you’re ready to go- you’re allowed to leave the department and go home as normal
We explain to the patients that the results will go back to the doctor who referred them
and the results will go back to these doctors as soon as possible and then any follow up
appointment is coordinated by their respective clinician. These appointment times can vary
depending upon the clinics that the doctors run.
In regards to getting your results it does depend again on the scan and its urgency.
If you are concerned you can talk to your consultant or whoever requested the test.
Scan has hundreds of images which they need to look through so you want to make sure it’s
done correctly. MRI Scanning is very useful because it gives
the doctors very detailed images of the internal structures of the body which may not necessarily
be seen on other imaging modalities. You are asked to come for an MRI and you are
feeling a bit apprehensive just think about the positives that the ends that you’ll
get from this scan, you’ll be able to find out what might be wrong with you or what might
not be wrong with you so it’s really reassuring to know the outcome of the scan and also if
you are feeling apprehensive just call the department and they’ll be able to discuss
the process with you.

2 thoughts on “Having an MRI scan at Great Western Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

  1. Hi I do not like MRI scans as its too closed in for me however I am and always will be very grateful to a scan I had in April this year which confirmed a spinal tumour which I had no idea was there. I have also found a good coping strategy where I just simply close my eyes till the scan is over and this works great for me. xx

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