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Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)

​Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is a versatile medical diagnostic technique used to create thin section images of the body using a magnetic field and radio waves. It does not use X-rays and is completely non-invasive.

SGH is equipped with a fleet of high-end MRI scanners with field strengths of both 1.5 Tesla and 3 Tesla.  The specifications were chosen to ensure a wide range of examination capabilities, from simple scans like brain or spine to complex ones such as parametric dynamic prostate MRI and pre-surgical functional MRI.  The service is augmented by a 3D laboratory where complex three-dimensional and advance neuroimaging data is post-processed to enhance their diagnostic value.

Examples of some scans performed are:

  • MRI Defecography
    MRI Defecography is the detailed imaging of the pelvis at various stages of defecation.  The dynamic images are then used to evaluate causes of fecal incontinence and pelvic floor disorders.
  • Multiparametric MRI of the Prostate
    Multiparametric MRI of the prostate combines anatomical, functional, dynamic and diffusion imaging to more accurately detect and locate prostate cancers.  Where necessary, the subsequent 3D images from the MRI can be used for targeted biopsy, ensuring that samples are accurately taken from abnormal sites for analysis.
  • Pre-surgical Functional MRI (fMRI) of the Brain
    fMRI of the brain is performed to locate the regions within the brain that control various parts of the body.  This is done by getting the patient to perform simple movement or language tasks while the scan is on-going.  The localisation of these control centres within the brain can aid in planning prior to brain surgery.

Things to note on day of appointment

Please refer to the Patient Preparation page for more information.

How to prepare for a MRI examination?

  Pre-scan preparations and fasting will vary according to the scan to be done and the region that is to be scanned. Please refer to the Preparation page for more information. 

What happens during an MRI examination?

You will be positioned comfortably on the padded table that will slide into the bore of the scanner.

During the scan, it is common to hear loud knocking, humming and thumping sounds. Ear plugs will be given to help reduce the noise.

An intravenous cannula may be inserted into your arm or back of hand if contrast media is required for your scan.

An MRI scan will take approximately 30 minutes to 60 minutes, depending on the type of examination required. It is important to relax and remain still during the scan as movement can blur the resultant images.

*During a functional MRI scan, you may be asked to perform a number of small tasks – such as tapping your thumb against your fingers or forming sentences in your head. This helps to pinpoint the regions of your brain that control these actions.

 The Radiographer can see you and is able to talk with you via a two-way intercom system. You will also be given a call button that you can squeeze to inform the Radiographer if you are having any problems or concerns.

What happens after a MRI examination?

There is typically no special care required following a MRI.    

If you had received contrast, post-procedural instructions will be given by the Radiographer/Radiologist on the day of exam.

If you had received sedation, you will be observed for a period of time before you are allowed to head home.

Our radiologists will read and report your MRI scan images. A report will then be sent to your referring clinician electronically, who will then discuss the scan results with you at your next appointment in the clinic. 

What are the possible risk and limitations for a MRI examination?

As the magnetic field is very strong, it is important to remove any metallic objects from your body, like earrings, rings, hearing aids and etc. Metallic objects may be strongly attracted to the scanner

Please inform your radiographer:

  • If you have had previous surgery with metallic or electronic implants such as cardiac pacemaker or cochlear implant.
  • If you have had any metallic foreign object enter your eyes or your body.
  • If you are pregnant or the possibility that you may be pregnant.

​I went for an MRI scan and asked the experts, exactly WHAT HAPPENS DURING AN MRI SCAN!