Frequently Asked Questions
Answers to some of the most common questions we are asked
1. What happens when I get there?
My scan is in BRIC-WGH
When you arrive at DCN, please report to the DCN X-ray Reception Desk . You will be asked to have a seat in the reception area and a radiographer will come to collect you. Once in the Brain Research Imaging Centre, you will be asked to complete a screening form.
My scan is in CRIC
When you arrive at CRIC, please report to the reception desk downstairs (you will need to buzz for access at the main door). You will be asked to have a seat in the reception area and a radiographer will come to collect you. Once in the Clinical Research Imaging Centre, you will be asked to complete a screening form.
My scan is in BRIC-RIE
When you arrive at BRIC-RIE, please report to the reception desk. You will need to buzz for access at the main door. You will be asked to have a seat in the reception area and a radiographer will come to collect you. Once in the Brain Research Imaging Centre, you will be asked to complete a screening form.
Since the MRI scanner uses a strong magnetic field, it will pull on any metal objects on your person or implanted in the body, the radiographer will ask you to fill in a screening form, which will be checked carefully to ensure you are safe to enter the scanning room.
Once you are taken through to the MRI scanning suite, you will be asked to remove all metal objects (as the scanner is a strong magnet) such as watches, keys, mobile phones, coins, lighters, jewellery, piercings, hairgrips etc. You may be asked to change into a gown. A locker will be provided for your belongings.
2. Who will perform the scan?
One of our MRI radiographers will perform the scanning. The radiographers are highly skilled professionals with expertise in operating the MRI scanner and are part of a team of professionals who will be looking after you during your time at BRIC/CRIC.
The radiographers work closely with the radiologists, medical doctors who specialise in interpreting the images resulting from your scan. A radiologist will issue a report for every scan and a copy of this report will be sent to your GP or hospital doctor and become part of your medical record (see point 7).
Meet our radiologists (link needs activated)
3. What happens during a scan?
After you have been screened and have changed into a gown, you will be taken into the scanning room and made comfortable on the scanner bed (using pillows and blankets as you choose). A specially shaped piece of equipment may be placed around the part of the body being scanned (this allows high quality images to be taken). Due to the unique way an MRI scanner works, a loud, banging noise will be heard while the actual scanning is taking place. To reduce the noise, some people prefer to wear ear defenders and earplugs (which we can provide).
MR images are very sensitive to movement. By keeping very still during the scan you can improve the quality of the images we obtain. The MRI radiographer will help make you are comfortable in the scanner, so you feel relaxed, settled, and secure.
4. Will I need an injection?
Sometimes, yes. For a few types of scan you will need a contrast agent in order to give a clearer picture of the area being scanned. It will be injected through a vein in your arm. This will not affect your driving and you will be asked to drink plenty of water to wash it out afterwards. The radiographers will be able to answer any questions you have.
5. Is scanning dangerous?
There are no known dangers associated with MRI. The scan is not painful (you will not feel anything) and since it does not use ionizing radiation, there are no known side-effects.
6. What sort of images will be taken?
The type of images will depend on the study you are participating in and will be explained to you by the radiographers. Most scans just require the study subject to lie still in the scanner while the images are being taken.
All study subjects will have a standard, anatomical scan to show the details of the brain that will be checked by one of the neuro-radiologists.
Some study subjects will have a functional MRI (or fMRI) scan where an activity is performed while in the scanner (e.g. looking at pictures) and, if this is applicable, it will have been explained to you when you were asked to participate in the study.
7. What happens to the information my scan provides?
If you are a subject having a scan for a clinical reason and not in a research study, a radiologist will look at your scan and send a report to the hospital consultant or GP who referred you for the scan. This usually takes 10 to 14 days. Please click here to view the diagram to show you the process.
If you are a study subject taking part in a research study, a radiologist will look at your scan and send a report to the doctor running the study. This will then be forwarded to your GP with any other results as appropriate. This process takes between 10-14 working days.
If you are a healthy person having a scan as a volunteer in a research project, a report documenting: (a) that the scan took place, (b) the type of scanning used, and (c) any diagnostic information that was obtained will be sent to the Principal Investigator of the study (if a clinician), or a nominated clinically-trained co-investigator . In the case of normal healthy volunteers being scanned as part of the development of new sequences and NOT as part of any specific research project, the radiological report documenting the above points will also be sent to your GP.
8. Will the radiographer give me my results?
No. Some scans require specialist processing by our image analysts to obtain the results and all scans need a radiologist with the clinical expertise to interpret the images. Please do not ask the radiographer for the result as they are not able to provide it.
9. How long will a scan take?
This depends on what is being studied, but a typical examination lasts between 30 and 60 minutes. Please allow extra time to in case the examination lasts longer than expected, to enjoy a cup of tea or simply to get changed from the hospital gown (if appropriate).
10. Does the centre cater for disabled volunteers?
All of our facilities have full disabled access and toilet facilities. Due to the strong magnetic field of the MRI scanner, you will not be able to take your own wheelchair into the actual scanning room using instead, our dedicated "non magnetic" wheelchair. If you require a hoist or another type of aid to transfer from the chair to the scanner bed, please contact us before your appointment so that we can make the necessary arrangements for your visit:
Telephone: 0131 537 2660.
The Scottish Association of Sign Language Interpreters: This service is offered by the City of Edinburgh Interpreting and Translation service for study subjects, carers and families. The Scottish Association of Sign Language Interpreters can be contacted during office hours on 0131-347 5601
11. English is not my native language, do you provide a translation service?
The hospital and University of Edinburgh run a translation service for study subjects who do not speak English. If this service is required, please contact us in advance of the appointment so we can make the necessary arrangements: Telephone: 0131 537 2660