MRI scan for pancreatic cancer

An MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) produces detailed pictures of the body. Instead of X-rays it uses a large magnet and radio waves that are fed into a computer. The computer then builds up cross-sectional images of your body. If you need an MRI scan, more written information will be available from your local scanning department.

Magnetic resonance imaging in Hospital. Medical Equipment and Health Care.


There is no special preparation for an MRI. However, because of the powerful magnet used to produce the scans, safety guidelines must be followed. You may have to fill in a questionnaire before the scan can be carried out.

It may not be possible to have a MRI scan if you have:
  • A heart pacemaker
  • Some types of surgical clips inside your head
  • Metal fragments in your eyes or elsewhere
  • Neuron-stimulator implants
Please tell your doctor or nurse if you:
  • Have any allergies
  • Have asthma
  • Have diabetes
  • Have kidney problems
  • Are taking any medication
  • Are pregnant
  • Have had any surgery in the past 12 weeks
  • Are in any doubt about your suitability for an MRI scan
  • Have had any problems before with any type of x-ray or radiology examination

What will happen?

For the scan:

  • Wear something loose without metal zips or buttons.
  • Remove all metal objects, including rings, before scanning.
  • Remember to check that you do not have any credit cards in your pockets as the magnetic strip is affected by the scan.

MRI ScannerIf necessary, you will have an injection of dye into a vein in your arm.  This can help improve the images. You will be asked to lie on a table which then moves into the scanner, shaped like a tunnel. The table contains the magnet and the part of your body to be scanned lies directly over its centre. During the scan you wont be able to feel anything, but there will be quite a lot of noise. You may be given headphones or ear plugs to help with this.

An MRI scan usually takes about 20-30 minutes but it may be much shorter or can take up to an hour. It is important to keep still throughout the scan. The radiographer will be outside the room but you can talk with them through a microphone.

You may be able to bring a friend or relative with you when you go to the clinic. They can wait in the waiting room while you have your scan.  Please check with the radiology department first in case the clinic is very busy.

When will I get the results?

At the end of the scan there will be multiple images for the radiologist to look at. Once these have been carefully studied, a report will be sent to your consultant.  Make sure you have been given an appointment to discuss the results.

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Information Product № Published 03/10/2019
Last Updated 15/10/2019 Next Review Due 03/10/2022