Magnetic Resonance Imaging


MRI, MR or Magnetic Resonance Imaging is a procedure used to obtain very detailed images of the internal organs and structures of the body. MRI uses a strong magnetic field and radio waves to produce images on a computer using specialised software. As these images show more detail and are usually clearer than other forms of imaging, doctors can use them to identify problems and diseases that may not otherwise be detected. These conditions include tumours and diseases of the internal organs such as the brain, heart and liver. MRI is a non-invasive procedure; however certain drugs may be prescribed (Either orally or intravenously) in order to enhance imaging.



  • East Coast Radiology Mthatha
  • Life Beacon Bay

(Note: Prior booking is necessary)



At home

  • Reserve at least 2 hours for the procedure.
  • Follow your normal routine. Eat normally and take any prescription medication as usual unless instructed otherwise by your doctor or the x-ray department. Only certain procedures require special preparation in this regard.
  • When you make your booking, please inform our staff of any allergies you may have or if you are in any stage of renal failure.


At the x-ray department

  • Please inform the radiographer if:
    • you know whether you have any metallic implants or prostheses such as a cardiac pacemaker, artificial heart valves, cerebral aneurism clip, neurostimulator, etc. Please inform the radiographer if you have had any previous surgeries. Certain models of implants and prostheses may be affected by the magnetic field.
    • you are or have been a metal worker or if you have had any injuries (especially to your eyes) caused by metal or metal fragments.
    • you are or may be pregnant.
  • Please remove any personal items before the procedure. These items include; jewellery, watches, cell phones, metal belts, wallets, spectacles, etc. Dentures and hearing aids also need to be removed. These items may interfere with the operation of the MRI or even be damaged during the procedure (credit cards, magnetic tags, etc.)
  • The radiographer will ask you to fill out an information form before the procedure. Please make sure that the details given are accurate.
  • An intravenous sedative may be given in some cases to ensure patient comfort and procedure success. If this is necessary, you will not be able to drive after the procedure.
  • An enhancing agent called a contrast may be required in some cases. This agent will be administered intravenously.
  • If any of these forms of medication are needed, you will be required to sign a consent form.


The Procedure

  • You will be helped onto a padded examination table and positioned correctly for the scan.
  • The table will travel into the MR machine, which is a circular, tunnel shaped apparatus that is open at both ends.
  • You will be able to communicate with the radiographer throughout the procedure. Please follow the instructions and ask questions if you are unsure of anything.
  • It is vitally important to remain absolutely still throughout the procedure. Failure to do so will result in poor image quality and the procedure may need to be repeated.
  • During the procedure, you will hear loud humming and/or thumping sounds – do not be alarmed, this is quite normal. Ear plugs are available and music will be played to ensure that you are as comfortable as possible.


After the procedure

  • You may resume normal activity after the procedure. There are no side effects (Except when sedation was needed).
  • Results will be available to your referring doctor on our PACS system and these will be discussed with you during your next consultation.