Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is one of the methods we use for looking inside the body. Instead of x-rays, the scanner works with magnetic fields and radio-waves to produce clear pictures of the head, spine, joints or almost all other parts of the body. The scanner consists of a very strong magnet with a radio transmitter and receiver. These instruments gather information which produce images that are used to distinguish normal healthy tissue from diseased or damaged tissue.

  • What is an MRI

    At SRG, Magnetic Resonance Imaging is used to evaluate:

    • Musculoskeletal system which includes the pelvis, hip, knee, ankle and foot, shoulder, elbow, wrist, hand and fingers.
    • Neurological system which includes the brain, internal ear and blood vessels (MR Angiography).
    • The spine, which includes the cervical, thoracic and lumbar regions.
    • The shoulder and hip (following an arthrogram injection).

    The MRI scan may require the use of a contrast agent depending on the information required. The Radiographer will inform you if your scan requires the use of contrast. The contrast agent fluid is injected into a vein. This fluid shows up on the image and helps us better visualize structures within the body.

  • During the Procedure

    The Radiographer, one of our staff trained in operating the MRI, will position you on a special bed. Your head will be placed in a padded headrest or on a pillow. The bed will then slide into the scanner. You will be able to communicate with the Radiographer throughout the examination via a two-way intercom. While the machine is taking the pictures you will hear loud thumping noises coming from the scanner. Earplugs or headphones will be provided and are compulsory during your scan to protect your hearing.

    During this time you need to stay very still and breathe normally. If you do feel the need to move or cough, let the Radiographer know. Following these directions will produce the best possible images. The whole procedure will usually be repeated several times, and the actual exam usually takes 30-45 minutes. Please note that these are lengthy procedures and you could be in the department for longer than expected.

  • After the Procedure

    The images from your scan will be electronically sent to one of our MRI Radiologists for interpretation. Your doctor will also be able to view these images from their clinic online.

    Our Radiologist’s report will be sent to your doctor electronically. If you require a copy of the images, you can purchase a memory stick containing the images. Please ask our reception staff at the time of your appointment.

  • Safety Considerations

    Prior to MRI scans, we require all patients to complete a safety screening form. Should you wish to complete this prior to your appointment, a copy is available for download»


    As the MRI scanner is an enclosed space, occasionally claustrophobia is a problem for some patients. If you have claustrophobia or anxiety, you may opt to receive a light sedative. If this is the case, you need to contact our MRI staff on (09) 523 7054 ext 2 at least 24 hours prior to your scan for information and assistance.

    If you are having sedation for your scan you will require a support person to accompany you to your appointment. This support person MUST stay in the department for the entire time. Following your scan, you will require a driver as the effects of the sedative will last some time, and as such, you must refrain from any significant activity for the rest of the day. You should neither drive a car nor operate any machinery.

    Metallic Foreign Bodies

    Those people who have had metal in their eyes from grinding metal should contact us before their scan. In some cases an x-ray will need to be taken to ensure that all the metal has been removed. Other metallic foreign bodies such as shrapnel may also require an x-ray prior to an MRI.

    Tattoos, Fillings and Dental Braces

    Dyes used in tattoos may contain iron and could heat up during MRI, but this is rarely a problem. Dental fillings and braces usually are not affected by the magnetic field but they may distort images of the facial area or brain, so the radiologist should be aware of them. Please advise our staff prior to your scan.


    Women should always inform the MRI technologist if there is any possibility that they are pregnant. Because the risks of an MRI exam to the unborn foetus are unknown, pregnant women should not have this exam unless the potential benefit from the MRI is assumed to outweigh the potential risks.

    Contrast Dye (Gadolinium)

    Some MRI examinations may require that the patient receive an injection of gadolinium based contrast into the bloodstream. You will be asked if you have allergies, however Gadolinium based contrast agents used in MRI are very safe and do not contain iodine, making it less likely to cause an allergic reaction.

    You must advise us if you have kidney disease or diabetes and especially if you are undergoing renal dialysis. These conditions may prevent you from having the contrast agent.

    All patients are required to change into a gown that has been provided and remove all:

    • Jewellery (including body piercings)
    • Watches
    • Hairclips
    • Glasses
    • Wallets/purses
    • Hearing aids
    • Any other metallic objects
  • Making an Appointment

    In order for us to book you an appointment, we will first need to have a copy of the referral form which will have been given to you by your doctor or specialist.

    We would appreciate it if you could send us a copy of your referral form either by fax: 09 524 7529 or email:

    For all enquiries regarding MRI appointments, please either email us at the above address or call 0800 774 9729 (FREEPHONE) or 09 523 7054 ext 2.

  • Important Information

    • Please complete our safety questionnaire and bring it with you to your appointment.
    • Please refer to our Parking and Transportation page for directions on how to get to our clinics and where to park.
    • Our Greenlane Clinic is located in Building C of Ascot Office Park. Take the lift to level 3 for MRI examinations.
    • Our Manukau Clinic is located at 175 Cavendish Drive Manukau and is part of Cavendish Clinic.

Make an appointment online or call our dedicated bookings line