Unlike CT scanning, MRI does not use X-rays to produce the
images. However it does make use of very strong magnetic fields and
radio waves to create incredibly detailed images of almost any part
of the head or body.
MRI scanning is used extensively in neurology, rheumatology and
orthopaedic medicine. It has an important role in imaging patients
with cancer and can be used to monitor their disease. MRI is
now also extensively used to perform bowel and cardiac
Because of the strong magnetic forces used in MRI it is unsafe
for some patients - for example, most (not all) people
fitted with a cardiac pacemaker are unsuitable for MRI. Some
patients fitted with a particular type of shunt designed to drain
excess fluid from the brain are also only safe in certain
circumstances. Because MR scanners are not safe for all patients a
safety checklist mustbe completed by everyone prior to
entering the MRI room.
The MRI scanning suite is equipped with the latest technology.
The suite has two Siemens 1.5 Tesla strength MRI
machines, both of which are capable of the full range of
The suite also now includes one of the most powerful MRI
scanners available for clinical use, following the installation of
the Philips Ingenia 3T MRI scanner in August 2012. It is one of
only a handful of 3T MRI scanners in England, twice as powerful as
the more common 1.5T scanners found in most hospitals. It is only
the second such scanner in the south west.
Its increased scanning power enables the most
detailed imaging ever possible at Poole Hospital. It can also
produce conventional quality images faster than a 1.5T MRI scanner,
and offers a more comfortable experience for patients thanks to its
wide bore. The opening of the new scanner now enables the hospital
to offer whole body scans which can identify the spread and
prevalence of cancer.