A State of the art CT scanner avaibale at the Tunbridge Wells Hospital at Pembury.A State of the art MRI scanner available at the Tunbridge Wells Hospital at Pembury.

An MRI of the small bowel showing Crohn's Disease.An MRI of the small bowel showing Crohn's Disease.

An MRI of the arteries in the brain.An MRI of the arteries in the brain.

What is it?

MRI, or Magnetic Resonance Imaging, uses a combination of a very powerful magnetic field (10,000 times stronger than that of the earth) and pulses of radiofrequency energy to produce exquisitely detailed images of soft tissues. The patient is required to lie still within the tube like bore of the magnet. The length of the study varies from about 20 minutes up to 1 hour.
The Radiologists of the Kent & Sussex Radiology Group have vast experience of MR imaging at the forefront of modern technology, using a state of the art 3 Tesla or 3T MR scanner recently installed at the Tunbridge Wells Hospital at Pembury. MRI is also available at the Nuffield Hospital in Tunbridge Wells and the Spire Hospital at Fordcombe. Second opinions can also be requested for MR scans performed elsewhere.
We have very close links with local orthopaedic surgeons, local physicians and local surgeons, enabling us to offer high quality opinions specifically tailored to the patient’s clinical problems.

Who will perform my test?

Whilst having your scan you will be cared for by one of our team of highly trained Radiographers who have the technical skills to generate the study images. Your scan will then be interpreted by one of our Consultant Radiologists. This is normally done by whichever Consultant has the most expertise in relation to your condition. A report will then be sent to your Consultant, Surgeon or GP.

What is it used for?

Routine studies: MRI is typically considered the best tool for assessing the brain, liver, spine and joints.

Specialist studies:  MRI is used for detailed assessment of both the male and female pelvis and is key to the management and diagnosis of common cancers e.g. prostate, rectal and ovarian cancer. Our state of the art scanners are now able to accurately assess the small bowel (MR enterography) and the perianal region particularly in people with Crohn’s Disease. We now use MRI in the assessment of some women for breast cancer, see breast imaging.

Are there any risks?

Unlike CT there is no radiation exposure and no known serious side effects associated with short exposures to high magnetic field. Thus MRI is often a useful tool in imaging children and young people. Some metallic implants however, can be damaged by MRI and there are a small number of patients in whom it is not safe to perform MRI. If you would like more information on this topic please click here.