About MRI

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) uses a combination of a strong magnetic field, radio waves with similar frequencies to those of FM radio stations and powerful computers to obtain detailed pictures of the body without using x- rays.

Because of the high level of accuracy of the images the technology offers and the safety of the imaging technique, it is the method of choice for the diagnosis of many types of injuries and conditions.

On this page:

Online referrals

Medical professionals can refer their patients via our secure and confidential referral form below. Please complete all fields as this will enable us to provide a more efficient service.

COVID-19 Update: To ensure appropriate appointment dates are offered to your patients, please provide a timeframe e.g. urgent within 48 hours, within 1 week, 2 weeks, or surveillance, as appropriate.

We will be guided by your clinical judgement on the urgency of the MRI scans. You may be contacted if further clarification is required. Thank you, the CAMRI team.

MRI scan procedure

Prior to having a scan you will need to complete a safety questionnaire which will be checked by the radiographer for any contra-indications, or potential reasons why it would not be advisable for you to have a scan.

No detrimental effects or risks are known from MRI scanning. However, it may not be possible, or safe, to have an MRI scan if you have any of the following:
- Cardiac pacemaker or defibrillator
- Retained cardiac pacing wires
- Surgical clips in the brain
- Electronic inner ear implants
- Metal fragments in your eyes
- Electronic stimulators
- Implanted pumps

You will be asked to change into a gown, and remove all metallic objects and jewellery.

The scan will usually take place with you lying on your back. Lightweight equipment will be placed on top of or around the region being scanned. As the scanner is very noisy whilst the scan is taking place, (it sounds like someone drilling the road) you will be given headphones to wear. If you wish, you are able to bring a CD of your choice to listen to during the scan.

The scanning process is painless, and free from X-ray exposure. You will be asked to lie in the scanner for approximately 30-60 minutes, and to remain as still as possible to ensure the resulting images are movement free. The sequences vary in length from a few seconds to several minutes. The radiographer will let you know how long each sequence is going to last, and remind you to stay very still. Some of the short scans require you to hold your breath. These "breath holds" last from 10 to 20 seconds, and this will be fully explained at the time of the scan.

At all times you are able to communicate with staff throughout the scan, and are supplied with an emergency buzzer. For your comfort, there is light fresh air coming through the scanner.


If you have experienced claustrophobia, or have trouble in enclosed spaces please call to discuss with the MRI staff before your appointment. Some people find that having a friend or relative in the room for support is enough to help relieve anxiety. Everyone who enters the room will need to complete a MRI safety checklist.

CAMRI also offers a 'Mock Scanner' experience to enable a test run of what a real scan will be. It was the first facility of its kind in the country, so we have plenty of experience with making our patients feel at ease.The 'Mock Scanner' can also be used to prepare anxious or claustrophobic patients prior to their MRI scan and can reduce the requirement for sedation.


Some scans require additional information, and with your consent, a clear fluid called a contrast agent is administered via a vein in the arm to improve the quality of the images.

Although MRI contrast is considered safe and rarely produces an allergic reaction, the occurrence of an allergic reaction cannot be completely excluded.

The contrast is naturally removed from the body via the kidneys over the following 24 hours. Please inform staff if you are aware of any kidney problems.


The radiologist will review your images and send a report to your referring doctor. You should make an appointment with your doctor to go over the results. The staff at CAMRI do not produce or keep copies of clinical reports for hospital patients, only private patients or those from other District Health Boards outside of Auckland.