What is an MRI scan?

MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scanning uses radiofrequency waves and magnetic fields to produce detailed images of the inside of your body. It can be used to scan almost any part of your body and shows soft tissues very clearly.

MRI scanners can be distinguished by the strength of the magnets used in each machine; this is measured in Tesla’s (T). You’ll usually have your scan in a 1.5T MRI or 3TMRI scanner. Other specialised types of MRI scans offered at GenesisCare include:

  • mpMRI – mpMRI (or multi-parametric MRI) combines several different images to create more detailed pictures than a normal MRI. This is commonly used for looking at the prostate
  • fMRI – fMRI (or functional MRI) measures small changes in blood flow that occur because of brain activity. It can be used to examine the brain’s functionality, look at the effects of a disease on the brain, or guide brain treatment like neurosurgery or stereotactic radiosurgery

Magnetic resonance imaging is a low-risk procedure, and most people can receive a scan with no issues.


How much is a private MRI scan?

The cost of a private MRI scan starts from £450, depending on the area of your body that needs to be scanned. This is because imaging larger areas or multiple parts of your body require several scans to be taken by a highly trained radiographer. One of our expert doctors will then assess each scan carefully before providing you with your results

We’re recognised by all major private medical insurers, and also offer a range of self-payment options. Find out more about payment options here

Book an appointment

If you have a referral for an MRI scan, find your nearest centre to book an appointment or make an enquiry.

0808 304 2332
0808 304 2332

What happens at an MRI scan?

Before your appointment you’ll be asked to complete an MRI safety questionnaire. The magnetism from the scanner could affect any metal that you may have in your body. This means that you’ll need to tell us of any previous operations and if you have any metal implants or electrical devices, such as bone pins or a pacemaker. Any further preparations you’ll need will be mentioned in your appointment letter. You can usually eat and drink as normal and continue to take medication prescribed by your doctor unless you’re instructed otherwise.

Occasionally, you may need to have an injection of a special dye (contrast media) that will help highlight specific areas of your body on the scans. This will be administered by injecting the dye into a vein in your arm or hand using a cannula (a small plastic tube). Your radiographer will let you know if you'll need to have this before your scan. This injection isn't necessary for all MRI scans. 

Once you’ve arrived at your appointment, your radiographer may ask you to change into a gown and remove any jewellery or metal objects which may interfere with the scanner. A private changing area and locker for your personal items is provided for your use during the scan.

Once you’re ready to have your scan, your radiographer will take you into the scanning room. They’ll ask you to lie down on your back on the couch and will help you into the correct position. This may be head or feet first, depending on the area of the body being scanned.

Your radiographer will leave the room, but they’ll be able to see you on a screen for the duration of the scan. You’ll be able to talk to one another through an intercom system, and they may give you some specific instructions during the scan.

The couch will move through the scanner and pictures will be taken from different angles. You’ll need to lie as still as you can to ensure a clear image is taken. The scan won’t cause you any pain. The most difficult part is keeping still, but we’ll make sure you’re as comfortable as possible before the scan starts. The scanner can make a noise while taking images, and you’ll be provided with earphones or earplugs to wear. If you're claustrophobic, you may like to bring your own eye mask with you to help you relax.

How long does an MRI scan take?

Your MRI scan may last between 15 to 90 minutes. This depends on the number of scans required and the size of the area that is needed to be scanned. Once your scan is finished, your radiographer will come back in the room and help you off the couch. You’ll be able to go straight home.

We’ll send your results, usually within 48 hours, to your doctor who requested the scan. They’ll then contact you to explain the results and discuss the next steps.

Private MRI scan near me

We have centres across the UK so we’re easy to get to, with parking available at every centre. We also have no wait lists and no waiting times, meaning you can get seen, as soon as possible. Because when it comes to your health, you’re our priority.

We offer MRI scans at many of our centres. Find the nearest centre that offers MRI scanning.


Find a centre near you