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How long do you have to wait for MRI scan results?

The results of an MRI Scan

The results produced by an MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) Scan are very complicated and need analysis from the expert eye of a specialist radiographer. Moreover, MRI scanners are used to help in the diagnosis of many patients each day so the radiology departments are extremely busy. Because of this the results of your MRI Scan will take a long time to collate so you will have to have a degree of patience when waiting for your results. You can expect to receive notification of your results through your GP or specialist after about two weeks, but this may take an even longer time. In emergency situations this process can be quickened and your GP can request a faster turnaround in the retrieval of your results, but in normal situations patients can expect to wait at least two weeks for the results to come back. Your GP or specialist will then make an appointment with you to discuss the results and to decide on a course of action for your treatment based on what the MRI Scan has shown.

What is the process of an MRI Scan? How does a patient prepare for one and are there any side effects?

The vast majority of MRI Scans will take place in the outpatient department of the hospital which means you will have your scan and be able to go home the same day. The scan requires the patient to lie flat on a table that then slides into the scanner. All that is required of the patient is to keep extremely still during the process so as to make the images as clear as possible. Most scans take about 20-30 minutes to complete, but some scans can take up to an hour depending on the area of the body being concentrated on. The radiographer will try to make you as comfortable as possible providing you with pillows and in some cases playing music to help you relax. Any preparation for the scan will be explained in advance by the radiographer, but usually it will simply be whether or not you are encouraged to drink fluids or not in advance of the appointment. Due to the small area of the scanner patients who suffer from claustrophobia should warn the radiographer of their condition in advance. In such cases the patient may be offered a sedative to relax them during the scanning process. MRI Scans are extremely safe and the only side effects are related to whether or not a sedative has been taken. If not then patients will be able to leave the radiology department very quickly.

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