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Welcome to the Royal Devon and Exeter

Medical Imaging Services


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Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)


MRI is part of the Medical Imaging Department, consisting of two 1.5 Tesla MRI scanners which operate 8am-8pm 7 days a week.  A mobile scanner is on site frequently each month. A variety of examinations are performed. These examinations are carried out by Radiologists and Specialised Radiographers, assisted by our Specialised Nursing Staff.


MRI uses a powerful magnetic field, radio frequency pulses and a computer to generate detailed images of any part of the body.


It is a non-invasive procedure and no ionising radiation is used. You should not feel any discomfort.


MRI room


The MRI unit is a large cylinder shaped tube surrounded by a circular magnet. The patient lies on a moveable couch which slides into the tube putting the area to be scanned in the centre.


Devices called coils, which send and receive radio waves, are placed on and around the area of the body to be scanned and, combined with others in the machine, produce signals which are detected by the coils. A computer processes the signals and generates a series of images each of which shows a thin slice of the area scanned.


For some procedures the patient will be asked to change into a gown. All valuables can be locked away until after the examination.



Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) Scanning for Children


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What to expect during an MR scan

MRI examinations consist of a series of sequences each of which can last for several minutes. Entire procedures may take form 10mins to 1hr to complete.


The machine is very noisy so earplugs and/or ear defenders are provided. Music can be played from either a CD or the radio. The patient will be given an alarm to hold which they can activate should they wish to attract the attention of the radiographer who is able to communicate via a two-way intercom.


The patient is usually alone in the scanning room but a friend or parent may stay in the room as long as they have been screened for safety.


Some patients may find that they are claustrophobic and are unable to complete the examination.  If this is the case, they will be re-booked with sedation. Very young babies can usually tolerate the scan after a feed.  Other children may require a general anaesthetic of which there three or four sessions per month.


For some examinations an injection of a contrast medium will be given (gadolinium).


Contraindications for an MRI scan


All patients are asked to complete an MR Safety Checklist before entering the MRI scan room, to ensure that the scan will be safe for them. Some implanted devices can be contraindicated for MRI such as some Pacemakers, inner ear implants or intra-cerebral aneurysm clips.


Listed below are some of the examinations that we perform, but MRI can be used in all parts of the body: