During January 2008, San Radiology installed G.E. Medical Systems most advanced MRI scanner. This HDx MRI scanner upgrade, combined with SAN Radiology’s recognised medical and radiographic staff expertise placed San Radiology at the forefront of MRI services.
The MRI upgrade significantly improved MRI image quality and also enables faster scans to be performed, greatly reducing the procedure time for most patients.
San Radiology utilises a 1.5 Tesla strength MRI system, so most patients with vascular stents, orthopaedic prostheses and other implants are safe to be scanned.
However a small number of devices are not safe for MRI, so it is important you inform SAN Radiology staff of any device, implant or metal object in your body at the time of making an appointment.
In order to determine an individual’s safety for MRI, a thorough safety screening process is performed by our staff on all patients prior to entering the MRI room.
San Radiology offers a comprehensive range of MRI examinations. They include procedures referred from the following specialities:
Obstetrics and Gynaecology
Specialised procedures also available at San Radiology MRI include:
Breast MRI with Computer Assisted Diagnosis (CAD)
ECG Gated Vascular studies
High resolution, Dynamic Abdominal imaging
High resolution, Dynamic Pelvic imaging
“Propellor” movement reduction imaging of the Brain
Specialised Claustrophobic Patient services
Please contact San Radiology bookings staff on 02 9487 9840 if you have any enquiries about a specific MRI procedure or please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
If they are unable to answer your enquiry then they will arrange for one of the MRI staff members to contact you.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is MRI?
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) uses a strong magnetic force and radio-frequency pulses to collect signals from the body. These signals are then converted by computers into thin section images, which are read by specialist Radiologists. The images and the report is what we provide to you and your referring doctor.
Is MRI Safe?
For the majority of people, MRI is safe, particularly at 1.5 Tesla strength used at SAN Radiology. Extensive research over a number of decades has been unable to identify any significant harmful effects attributable to MRI technology.
There are no X-rays used to complete your MRI examination.
Who cannot have an MRI scan?
If you have a cardiac pacemaker or implanted cardiac defibrillator, it is usually not safe for you to undergo an MRI scan. In addition, some patients with cerebral aneurysm clips, infusion pumps, neuro-stimulators and cochlear implants cannot be scanned. All these devices have to be accurately identified in advance in order to determine a patient’s safety for MRI.
How do I know whether I am safe for an MRI?
Your safety is of paramount importance to us so we work with you to ensure you are safe to enter the MRI magnet room.
You will need to complete a safety questionnaire prior to the MRI. MRI Staff will also verbally confirm these details directly with you, prior to the procedure. Certain implanted devices will need to be identified.
Devices such as vascular aneurysm clips, cochlear implants, neurostimulators, vascular pumps, gastric bands, penile implants, cardiac valves and annuloplasty rings and large vascular stents will need to be specifically identified (Manufacturer, Model Name or Number), preferably in writing from the responsible surgeon or by an identifying implant card (often given to patients at the time of insertion).
However, please note that most metal implanted at surgery (eg. hip or knee replacement, metal rods and screws, sternal wires etc) is safe after a period of 6 weeks.
Most modern coronary stents are also safe on the San MRI, however it is usually advised that patients wait eight (8) weeks after a coronary stent insertion before having an MRI procedure.
If you have had any significant metallic foreign body enter your eyes and have not had it removed by a doctor, you will probably need to have an X-ray of your eyes prior to the MRI scan. Likewise if you have had any significant shrapnel or bullets in your body, it might be necessary to have it localised prior to your MRI appointment. Please discuss this with you doctor and have the X-rays performed well before your MRI appointment.
If you have any concerns about your safety for an MRI procedure, please raise these concerns with the San Radiology staff when you make your appointment.
What if I'm pregnant?
If you are pregnant, or could be pregnant at the time of your appointment, please contact us prior to that time so we can discuss this with your referring doctor.
MRI has been traditionally avoided in the first trimester of pregnancy unless the diagnosis cannot wait and your doctor considers MRI to be the best investigation. This practice is only a precaution because there is no data at this stage indicating our MRI technology is dangerous to the unborn foetus. In fact MRI is often preferentially chosen to image a foetus when this is felt necessary.
Will I fit on the San Radiology MRI?
Nearly all MRI systems have limitations to the size of patients they can scan. This is due to the technology and physics used. If you have concerns about whether you will fit on the San Radiology MRI, please phone the bookings staff on (02) 9487 9840. Your enquiry will be handled with discretion and care. Alternatively, ask your referring Doctor to make the enquiry on your behalf.
How long do I need to wait for an appointment for an MRI?
Outpatients appointments when possible will be offered an appointment within two to three working days.
How do I make an appointment for MRI?
Contact San Radiology Bookings on (02) 9487-9840. You will be asked what type of MRI procedure you would like to schedule. Please arrive fifteen (15) minutes prior to your examination time for registration and safety screening.
Identification of the correct procedure and body area at the time of booking is vital to ensure the appropriate amount of time is allocated for your MRI. If you cannot read or do not understand your referral please contact your referring doctor for confirmation of what is being requested so you can tell our staff what test you need performed. You may also fax or bring your referral to San Radiology so that we can help you schedule the required examination.
Preparation for MRI
In most cases there is no special preparation for an MRI procedure, and you can eat and drink normally. It is preferable that you attend wearing minimal jewellery and all body piercing must be removed due to significant safety issues.
Please do not wear eye make-up or hairspray if you are having a scan of the head / brain region.
Some abdominal MRI procedures will require fasting, however this will be explained at the time of booking.
For safety reasons you will be asked to change into a hospital gown which is known to be free of any small items of metal.
Please bring any previous imaging with you on the day of your examination.
What if I think I might be Claustrophobic?
This is the most common concern patients have about MRI so don’t be embarrassed about it.
The San MRI has one of the new generation short-bore magnets with heavily flared open ends which make the environment far more acceptable for anxious patients (it looks more like a CT scan machine).
The fast scan time achieved by our MRI scanner means short scan times, This shortened examination time assists claustrophobic patients to tolerate their procedure. The San MRI staff are well-known for their skills in allaying the fear claustrophobic patients feel. We have been consistently successful at being able to complete scans for anxious patients. You will be well informed and in control of your procedure at all times.
However if you have previously experienced problems with MRI procedures and are concerned, then it is recommended you discuss this with your doctor who might prescribe a gentle sedative to be taken prior to the MRI procedure.
It is imperative that you discuss any sedative medication you wish to take with the MRI staff upon your arrival for your appointment. It is suggested you arrive thirty (30) minutes prior to your appointment with your medication and ask the receptionist to inform the MRI staff of your intention to take some sedative medication.
You must also arrange for another person to attend with you if you wish to take a sedative. You will not be permitted to drive home under any circumstances and will need to remain under observation for some time after the completion of the scan.
Should I take my Pain medication?
Please continue taking your usual pain medication. If you can time your dose such that its peak action corresponds to your scheduled scan time this will help you keep still for the scans. Other medications should be taken as normal.
The MRI procedure
Each MRI procedure can be quite different. Scans for each part of the body require the use of different pieces of equipment to get the appropriate MRI images. The MRI staff will set up the procedure table in advance and explain the procedure to you prior to commencing.
MRI technology is quite loud; dependant upon the procedure being performed you will be offered one of a number of forms of hearing protection. Some form of hearing protection must be worn.
In most cases, you will just need to lie comfortably on you back whilst the MRI scans are performed. Constant communication, both verbal and visual, is maintained throughout the scan to ensure that you are comfortable and kept informed about the progress of your examination. If at any time you become uncomfortable, a handheld buzzer enables you to communicate with the MRI staff. The length of time for each procedure can vary and MRI staff will try to estimate the time for your procedure at its commencement.
Will I require an injection?
Most MRI tests do not require a contrast injection; however, in certain circumstances it may improve the accuracy of the scan. The decision to give the gadolinium injection is usually made by the Radiologist overseeing your procedure at the time of your procedure.
This injection (gadolinium) is usually via a very small cannula into an arm vein. It is not like the iodine-based contrast used in x-ray examinations.
Prior to many MRI procedures you will be asked to complete a Contrast Safety Questionnaire. This assists with the information you and the staff need to have in the event that it is decided your study requires the gadolinium contrast injection.
Who should not get the Gadolinium Injection?
The Gadolinium injection is usually not given to patients who have seriously compromised renal (kidney) function or those who are on dialysis.
Pregnant women are usually not given the Gadolinium injection.
Women who are breastfeeding can be given the gadolinium injection however they are asked to refrain from breastfeeding their infant for 24 hours following the injection. This will be discussed if necessary and planned accordingly.
When will I get my results?
MRI investigations contain specialised and complex information. A large number of images are produced and review of these images may take several hours. Usually the report is available to your referring doctor the next working day. In most cases, you will be able to take your MR images with you after the procedure is completed.
Please bring any previous imaging with you on the day of your examination.
Does a San Radiology MRI procedure attract a Medicare rebate?
Yes, the San Radiology MRI service invoices can be presented to Medicare for a rebate if a specialist Doctor such as a Neurologist, Orthopaedic Surgeon, Neurosurgeon etc refers you.
Most but not all MRI procedures are eligible for a Medicare rebate, even when ordered by a Specialist Doctor.
How much will my MRI cost?
Where a Specialist Doctor orders a rebateable procedure, San Radiology will charge Medicare only fees for Pensioners, patients with Seniors Cards and Veterans Affairs patients. For Patients not in these categories but who have been referred by a Specialist, there is a patient co-payment of $125.
For patients from non-specialist doctors and other referrers such as General Practitioners, Sports Medicine doctors, Physiotherapists, Osteopaths, Chiropractors etc., a subsidised fee is offered by San Radiology.
Please ask San booking staff for an estimate on your procedure when making your MRI appointment.