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MRI stands for magnetic resonance imaging. An MRI scan is a medical imaging technique that allows doctors to get a detailed picture of your organs, bones and soft tissues. It produces detailed 3D images that can be viewed from different angles.

An MRI a non-invasive way for doctors to examine what is going on inside your body. This helps them diagnose what is causing your symptoms. An MRI machine is a large tube that you lie inside. It uses a magnetic field and computer-generated radio waves. This allows us to produce detailed cross-sectional images of the inside of your body.

Your doctor may request an MRI scan to diagnose a wide range of possible health conditions. These include conditions affecting the brain and spinal cord; heart and blood vessels; internal organs; bones, joints and breasts.

You will be able to eat normally before an MRI scan and take your routine medication, unless your doctor advises you otherwise. We will ask you to change into a hospital gown and to remove anything that might affect the scan. This includes items such as dentures, hearing aids, jewellery, glasses or wigs. Occasionally it may be necessary for us to give you a small injection into a vein in the arm. This can improve the diagnostic accuracy of the scan.

The MRI scanner looks like a narrow tube, big enough to lie inside and open at both ends. You lie down on a moveable table that slides into the scanner. Your radiographer will be able to see you and talk to you throughout the procedure. If you are claustrophobic (uncomfortable in enclosed spaces) we can give you a sedative to help you stay calm.

The MRI scanner creates a strong magnetic field around you and directs radio waves at your body. This is painless. You will hear repetitive tapping, thumping and other noises during the scan. For this reason we may give you earplugs or have music playing to help block the noise.

Most MRI scans last between 15 minutes and an hour. It’s important to lie still to avoid the images becoming blurred. Your doctor may talk to you during scan. We may, for example, ask you to perform simple movements or answer questions during the scan.

Afterwards you will normally be able to resume your day-to-day activities immediately unless you’ve had a sedative. We will send your results to your doctor who will discuss the findings with you and any treatment you may need.

An MRI scan is generally a safe procedure however, for a small number of people, MRIs are not suitable. These include people with a heart pacemaker, people with metal clips in their brains to treat dilated blood vessels (aneurysms), ear or cochlear implants, metal heart valves, metal fragments in the eyes or anyone in the first three months of pregnancy.

For this reason, you will be asked to complete a safety questionnaire before the procedure. If you have any concerns please talk to your radiologist.

Why choose Berkshire Imaging?

We are one of the largest private radiology groups in Berkshire, providing imaging for patients across the county. We also provide interventional radiology procedures for patients in Berkshire, Oxfordshire, Hampshire, Bucks and London. We are leaders in medical imaging and image guided treatments. As a result we use cutting edge technologies to diagnose and treat many different and often complex conditions.

When you are concerned about your health, you want a doctor to see and treat you as quickly as possible. With Berkshire Imaging you will receive a prompt and accurate diagnosis. This can help ensure better outcomes if you need treatment or put your mind at ease if you don’t.

Where Are You Based?

We provide imaging for patients right across Berkshire. From Newbury and Thatcham in the West along the M4 corridor to Reading, Bracknell and Wokingham and as far as Maidenhead and Slough, we have helped hundreds of patients in Berkshire. Our strong relationships with all the major private hospitals across Berkshire enable us to offer rapid access to private scans in several locations.

Contact Us

If you have any questions our friendly patient care team will be happy to help. Contact us by calling 0118 338 2500 or emailing for more details about this procedure.


Frequently asked questions – MRI

The MRI scans we offer include:

  • cervical spine
  • thoracic spine
  • lumbar spine
  • knee
  • hips
  • shoulder
  • wrist
  • ankle
  • elbow
  • prostate
  • liver and gallbladder
  • pelvis
  • head
  • neck

Some patients are anxious about the thought of a MRI scan and being in an enclosed space. An MRI scanner is open at both ends and is located in a spacious room. Although it is quite noisy you will either be given ear plugs to block out the sound or you will be given headphones so that you can listen to music. You will also be given a call bell for the duration of the scan which you can use to alert the radiographers immediately should you have problem.

If you think claustrophobia may still be an issue please feel free to discuss this with your doctor. In this case they may be able to prescribe a mild sedative. This does not put you to sleep but relaxes you. If you do take a sedative you will need someone with you who can drive you home after the scan.

We offer a broad range of treatments at Berkshire Imaging, at a number of different locations. For this reason the price will vary. Please call 0118 338 2500 or email for an accurate price. You can also get in touch via our contact page. You can read more information relating to payments and insurance on our payment information page.

We will send your results promptly to your referring clinician. They will then get in touch to discuss them with you.