A Brain, Skull Base or Nasopharynx MRI is a procedure that takes images of the brain and/or cranial nerve distributions through your face and neck.

When you arrive for your examination, you will be asked to fill out a safety questionnaire.

You will lie on the scanner, and a special coil will be placed over your head to help obtain the images. For all Brain, Skull Base or Nasopharynx imaging, you will enter the scanner head-first. You will go into the scanner until your head is in the centre of the scanner. Your waist down should remain out of the scanner.

A small mirror is positioned above your head, which acts as a periscope. This gives you the feeling of spaciousness and allows you to see out of the scanner. During the scan, you will need to be as still as possible. If you experience claustrophobia (fear of small places), please discuss this with us before your scan. If sedation (medication to relax you) is required, you will need to arrange for someone to drive you home.

MRI scanners make a loud knocking sound while the images are developed. To reduce the impact of the noise, you will be offered headphones or earplugs. You will also be offered a buzzer to press if you want to talk to the technologist at any time during the scan.

On some occasions, a contrast dye (Gadolinium) may be required, and if so, a technologist will explain the process. The contrast dye will be given through a small needle (intravenous cannula) that will be placed in your arm.

Risks / Side Effects

As part of the MRI examination, you may need to have an injection of a contrast agent (dye) known as Gadolinium. This medication is administered intravenously (injection into vein) through a needle. Overall MRI contrast injection is a safe procedure. Occasionally patients feel a little nauseous but this only lasts momentarily. More serious allergic type reactions, although possible, are extremely rare. The staff in the MRI department are fully trained to deal with such a reaction should it occur.

Before your Scan

Because MRI uses large and strong magnets to create images, it is important that jewellery such as watches, chains, earrings and other metallic items such as eye-glasses are removed before the scan. You may also be asked to change into an examination gown for your safety and to make sure your clothing does not affect the images and diagnostic quality of the scan.


MRI of the Brain usually takes 20-25 minutes.

MRI of the Skull Base or Nasopharynx can be 25-45 minutes.

Are you ready to make your MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) appointment?

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