A CT (Computerised Tomography) scan uses x-rays to produce 3-dimensional cross-sectional images of the body. In neuroradiology the brain and the spine are the most common parts examined.
During the CT scan you will be taken to the scanning room and asked to lie down on the scanner bed. You may receive a contrast injection before or during the scan. The scan will only take a few minutes to complete.
An MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) scan uses strong magnetic fields to create detailed cross-sectional images of the brain and spine.
The examination does not involve any radiation. Sometimes an injection of a contrast agent called gadolinium will be required.
During the MRI scan you will be asked to lie on the MRI scanner table. The scan can be quite noisy, and you will be given headphones or ear plugs. The examination will take between 15 minutes and 1 hour depending on what you are having scanned.
As the scanning uses a strong magnetic field, safety is very important. It is essential that you inform the radiographer if you:
Have a cardiac pacemaker
Have had any type of heart surgery
Have a cochlear implant, neurostimulator, or programmable hydrocephalus shunt
Have any implants or devices in your body
Have had an injury to your eyes involving metal or metal fragments
Have had any operations on your head, eyes, ears or spine