MRI is offered at Payneham and Woodville South.

What is MRI?

MRI (MR or magnetic resonance imaging) scanning is a diagnostic imaging technique that uses magnetism and radio waves, combining a strong, fixed magnetic field and a variable electro-magnetic coil, to produce rapidly varying magnetic fields. These magnetic fields excite all hydrogen atoms in the patient to momentarily become weak radio transmitters, which then make radio waves that are received in coils positioned around the body. Hydrogen – contained in all water and fat molecules inside the body – responds to, and re-transmits, radio frequency energy when exposed to rapidly varying magnetic fields. The radio waves produced by the hydrogen in the body are received by coils placed around the patient. A computer reconstructs a map to show the location of water and fat concentration within the body. To make the fixed magnetic field, there is a very large and powerful magnet in the MRI suite with a round opening in the middle of a gantry where the patient lies. A coil is then positioned around the patient to receive the signals from the hydrogen atoms in the body. The MRI image shows many internal structures very well, including: soft tissue in the brain, breasts, spine, abdomen, and joints, such as the hip, knee, ankle, shoulder, elbow, and wrist.


You will be asked to lie on the scanner table with the part of your body to be examined positioned in the scanner’s gantry. You will hear a noise when the MRI images are being obtained, but no moving parts will touch you. There will be no discomfort. During the scan there is a continuous tapping sound, which may startle you at first, but often lulls people to sleep. You will be offered earplugs for hearing protection. During the scan, the technician can see and hear you at all times as there is a camera and 2-way microphone built into the scanner. Some patients experience claustrophobia, but the MRI room layout and décor has been planned to minimise this. Sometimes an intravenous injection of contrast material will be required, depending on the area being examined. The contrast can provide valuable information by highlighting certain organs and blood vessels on the MRI images.


There can be significant safety issues due to the very powerful magnetic field used.

Please tell us about any recent surgeries or devices you may have implanted inside of you. It is important to also tell us if you have ever been exposed to metallic foreign bodies around your eyes.

If you would like to know more about the risks and benefits of MRI, ask the technician or radiologist when you attend your examination.

If you have one of the following it WILL NOT be safe for you to be scanned:

  • Cardiac pacemaker
  • Cochlear Implant
  • Neurostimulator

If you have one of the following it MAY NOT be safe for you to be scanned:

  • Cerebral Aneurysm Clip
  • Metal in your eyes
  • Artificial Heart Valve
  • Pregnancy (in first 3 months)
  • Infusion Pump

Preparation varies depending on the type of examination, and examinations do not require any preparation. You will be told what to do at the time of making your appointment and you are welcome to ask questions regarding your examination. A standard MRI examination takes approximately 40 – 60 minutes. Ensure you advise our booking staff if you have a pacemaker, cochlear implant, or other surgical device in your body when you book, or if you have ever been exposed to metallic foreign bodies around your eyes.

MRI costs

Imaging excellence and affordability are the cornerstones of our business. To meet this commitment, we BULK BILL all Medicare eligible MRI Scans. Bulk billing means no gap payment and no large, unexpected out-of-pocket expense. Please check if your scan is eligible when booking. Medicare guidelines are very specific about which examinations are covered under the Medicare schedule.

Medicare will now cover the following MRI examinations referred by a GP for patients over 16 years of age: head, spine, knees (applies to certain conditions).

Medicare covers the following MRI examinations referred by a GP for patients under 16 years of age: head, spine, hips, elbows, and wrists (applies to certain conditions). Your specialist can refer certain adult patients for Medicare eligible MRI (applies to a limited number of conditions).

In the case that an MRI scan is not Medicare eligible then fees will apply. Please check with our reception staff when booking.

It is your choice where you have your scan or X-ray. Call us with any practice’s Imaging request form for an appointment. If your doctor has requested an X-ray or scan, you can use our request form at any radiology practice.

Sometimes your doctor may require traditional large-format plastic images. If this is the case, let us know and we will print plastic images for you – a surcharge applies for these copies.


The radiologist or technician will talk to you before, during and after the examination. The radiologist will interpret and report on the MRI images. Often a second radiologist will also review your scan images and the final report will be issued the following day. The results will be sent to your referring doctor. As the images are digital they will be kept on our computer system for future reference. You should always discuss the results with your doctor.

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