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MRI department                                  (magnetic resonance imaging)


  • X-ray department, level 1, Royal Derby hospital
    (best entrance - main entrance, 9)
  • X-ray 5, London Road Community Hospital
    (best entrance - Junction 2)


What is a  MRI scan?

A  MRI scan uses a strong magnetic field and radiowaves to create pictures on a computer of  tissues, organs and other structures inside your body.

The MRI machine is like a tunnel about one-and-a- half metres long surrounded by a very large circular  magnet. You lie on a couch which then slides into the scanner. A special device that works like an aerial may be placed somewhere close to your body part that is being examined. This picks up the radio signals emitted from your body. You will need to keep still for a few minutes for each scan, otherwise the picture may be blurred. The scan itself is painless. Each scan takes between 15 and 45 minutes. 

You may find it a little uncomfortable lying still for that period of time. Sometimes we may inject a special contrast dye via a vein on your arm. This helps to give better pictures of certain tissues or organs being examined. A radiographer will be sitting in the control room next to the scanner and observing you through the window. However, you can talk to them usually via an intercom and you will be observed at all times on a monitor. The scanner is very noisy, so you will be given some headphones or earplugs to protect your ears from the noise.  

What preparation do I  need to do before a MRI scan?

Your appointment letter will give you information about anything that is required before you come for your scan. A MRI Scanner uses a very strong magnet, so people with certain types of medical implant cannot be scanned. This is because the magnet can sometimes move medical devices with metal in them or  effect their function. Before you enter the scanning area, you will be asked if you have any medical devices in your body.  You will be asked to fill in a  safety questionnaire that asks about things that may contain metal. The staff will check with you before you enter the scan room if you have any of the medical devices listed below in your body: 

  • Internal defibrillator or pacemaker
  • Cochlea ear implant
  • Surgical clips, such as those used on brain aneurysms
  • Artificial heart valves
  • Implanted drug infusion ports
  • Implanted electronic device, including a cardiac pacemaker
  • Artificial limbs or metallic joints
  • Implanted nerve stimulators
  • Pins, screws, plates, stents or surgical staples


It is also very important to tell the radiographer if you have ever had any metal fragments lodged in your eyes or your body.   In some cases you may need a x-ray before a MRI scan to make sure you are safe to enter the scanner. 

You must also inform the department, if you are pregnant, epileptic or weigh over 17 stones.

You also cannot enter the scan room wearing anything metallic which includes any metal on clothing (zips, buttons), eye make up, body piercing or jewellery or credit cards.

Where can you have a MRI Scan?

We have  two MRI scanners in the Main x-ray department at the Royal Derby Hospital.

We also have a MRI scanner in  X-ray 5 at the London Road Community Hospital (formerly the Derbyshire Royal Infirmary).

Finding us

Royal Derby Hospital - we are in the main x-ray department  on level 1 which is signposted from the main hospital entrance. Please report to Reception 2. The nearest car parks are 1 and 8 at the front of the hospital.

London Road Community Hospital   – The CT/MRI department is in X-ray 5. Access is via the main entrance and is located off junction 2 of the main hospital corridor. The closest car  parks are yellow and purple.

Opening hours

Royal Derby Hospital,  08.00 - 17.00 hours, 7 days a week for out-patient examinations. We also offer a 24 hour service for in-patients and emergency referrals.

London Road Community Hospital,
 Monday to Friday  09.00 - 16.30 hours

Who can refer for a MRI scan?

Most referrals are from consultant specialists.  GPs can refer for MRI lumbar spines and  MRI knees examinations directly to the department.

When do I get my results?

Your referring clinician should tell you how and when you will get your results.  However, if you are unsure please ask the person performing your examination.