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Imaging (Radiology)

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is a type of scan that uses magnetic fields to produce detailed images of the inside of the body. It’s suitable for almost any part of the body, including the brain and spine, bones and joints, the heart and blood vessels, and internal organs such as the liver, womb, or prostate. The results of an MRI scan can be used to help diagnose conditions, plan treatments, and assess the effectiveness of previous treatment.

Each year we typically perform over 45,000 patient examinations. As a specialist centre we receive patients from all around the country. We also provide opportunities for researchers to develop new imaging methods and investigate diseases such as cancer and dementia.

Having a scan?

If you are having a scan with us the following pages are designed to provide information and guidance for your visit.

Our department

At CUH we are proud of our imaging team. We aim to provide the very best for our patients and visitors. Currently, the department has six state-of-the-art scanners located in Addenbrookes Hospital and the Rosie Hospital.

We are fortunate to benefit from generous donations from Addenbrooke’s Charitable Trust (ACT) (opens in a new tab). Their support has helped improve clinical services with new equipment, providing better image quality and an improved patient experience.

Mobile scanners

We have two on-site mobile MRI scanners located just outside of our main department MRIS at Addenbrookes.

Further information about our mobile MRI scanners can be found here.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) enabled Magnetic Resonance Imaging

The Imaging department’s newest MRI scanner is used for advanced imaging and research. Our new scanner has twice the magnetic field strength (3 tesla) compared to the eleven year old scanner that it has replaced. In a UK first, the 3 tesla scanner also contains artificial intelligence (AI) enabled software creating higher resolution images whilst reducing examination times. Roof lighting panels and a bespoke audio-visual system provide a relaxing environment inside the scanner room.

One of our MRI machines - funded by ACT

Scans for children and young people

Our team is lucky enough to include a Healthcare Play Specialist who supports children and young people between 3 - 16 years of age. Therapeutic play is used to inform them about the scan process and any sedation required using preparation and distraction techniques. This helps achieve successful scan procedures. Where extra support is required support plans and assessments can be used to help reduce anxiety, resulting in a more positive experience.

A member of the play team and child with Lego scanner

The Rosie MRI scanner

Located at the Rosie Hospital, next to Addenbrooke’s, this state-of-the-art MRI scanner provides a comforting environment for adults and children. The scanner’s dedicated audio system makes it easy to listen to music, a story or the radio during a scan. Built close to the neonatal intensive care unit the scanner provides imaging where it’s needed.

The Rosie MRI scanner was used to pilot the first UK artificial intelligence (AI) enabled software creating higher resolution images and shorter scan times for patients. The scanner was also used to test a new MRI technique for imaging bones, which provides X-ray-like pictures, but without the X-ray radiation. This breakthrough technology is now used clinically across CUH.

One of our MRI scanners in the Rosie Hospital

Making MRI less scary for children

The prospect of an MRI scan can make some children anxious, resulting in failed attempts or necessitating the use of sedation. ACT has funded £2,000 to buy an inflatable MRI scanner, so children can familiarise themselves with the procedure in a fun environment and our play specialists can then work on any anxieties.

One of our inflatable MRI scanners - Funded by ACT

MRI physics services

We are able to offer advice and expertise to help MRI centres comply with national guidelines and UK legislation. Our MR physics team also provide teaching on MR physics and safety issues. At CUH and Royal Papworth hospital, we support research studies and clinical trials. Please visit the MRI physics services page for more information.