Some patients undergoing an MRI scan who are claustrophobic may require Sedation (Hypnovel) to help relax and feel comfortable to have their scan completed.

Hypnovel contains the active substance midazolam, which belongs to a group of medicines known as benzodiazepines. It is a short-acting medicine that is used to induce sedation (a very relaxed state of calm, drowsiness, or sleep) and relieves anxiety and muscle tension. This is given intravenously usually through a vein in the arm.

Although we would like this service to be available to everyone, we must be very careful of the patients that receive this drug as there are risks associated with the administration of it. If we feel you are at high risk of a reaction or complication your sedation may be cancelled and be better suited in a hospital environment.

To be aware of the risks prior to the scan, we would like to inform you that possible side effects include:

  • Anaphylactic shock (a life-threatening allergic reaction). Signs may include a sudden rash, itching or lumpy rash (hives) and swelling of the face, lips, tongue, or other parts of the body. You may also have shortness of breath, wheezing or trouble breathing, or a pale skin, a weak and rapid pulse, or feeling of loss of consciousness. Additionally, you may experience chest pain, which can be a sign of a potentially serious allergic reaction called Kounis syndrome.
  • Heart attack (cardiac arrest). Signs may include chest pain which may spread to your neck and shoulders and down your left arm.
  • Breathing problems or complications (sometimes causing the breathing to stop).
  • Choking and sudden blockage of the airway (laryngospasm).

Other possible side effects include:

  • Effects on behaviour: restlessness, agitation, irritability, nervousness, anxiety, hostility, anger or aggression, excitement, hyperactivity, changes in libido.
  • Muscle problems: muscle spasms and muscle tremors (shaking of your muscles that you cannot control).
  • Mental and Nervous system problems: confusion, disorientation, emotional and mood disturbances, involuntary movements, nightmares, abnormal dreams, hallucinations.
  • Heart and circulation problems: low blood pressure, slow heart rate, redness of the face and neck (flushing), fainting or headache.
  • Breathing problems: shortness of breath, hiccup.
  • Stomach, gut and mouth problems: feeling sick or being sick, constipation, dry mouth.
  • Skin problems: rash, hives (lumpy rash), itchiness.
  • Injury: Patients taking benzodiazepine medicines are at risk of falling and breaking bones. This risk is increased in the elderly and those taking other sedatives (including alcohol).
  • General: tiredness (fatigue).
  • Elderly patients: Life-threatening side effects are more likely to occur in adults over 60 years of age and those who already have breathing difficulties or heart problems, particularly when the injection is given too quickly or at a high dose.
  • Patients with severe kidney disease: Patients with severe kidney disease are more likely to experience side effects.

How to Prepare for an MRI with Sedation?

To ensure the scan runs as smooth and as safe as possible it is very important to:

  • Fast for 6 hours before your appointment time, including food, drink, alcohol, and cigarettes.
  • Organise a friend or family member to attend the appointment with you. You will not be able to drive for 24 hours and will not be able to take a taxi or Uber home. For safety reasons you will need to leave the practice in the care of someone who will accompany you home.
  • Stop taking any anti-anxiety (e.g. Valium), anti-depressants (e.g. Zoloft), or sleeping tablets (e.g. Temazepam) 24 hours before your appointment.

Post Care after having Sedation.

To ensure the safety of the sedated patient, after the scan you will:

  • Remain on site for a minimum of 1 hour until you have returned to a baseline of consciousness.
  • Will only be permitted to leave under the care and supervision of a friend or family member who will be provided with verbal and written care instructions.
  • Not be able to drive or operate any machinery for 24 hours after sedation.

Undergoing an MRI examination is an essential diagnostic tool that aids in the early detection and treatment of various diseases. However, for some individuals, the experience can be daunting due to MRI claustrophobia. Studies indicate that up to 15% of MRI examinations may result in claustrophobic reactions, potentially leading to patients avoiding crucial screenings. At Synergy Radiology, we prioritise patient comfort and have created an environment specifically designed to alleviate anxiety and ensure a calm MRI journey.

At Synergy Radiology, we have meticulously designed our MRI suite with your comfort in mind. Our spacious room is thoughtfully furnished, featuring soft, natural lighting that creates a soothing ambience. The gentle airflow maintains a fresh and relaxing atmosphere, contributing to a sense of calmness during your examination.

Understanding the importance of creating a serene atmosphere, we provide various amenities to enhance your comfort. Upon arrival, you will be offered eye masks to help you relax and minimise any potential distractions. Additionally, we encourage you to bring your favourite music, which can be played in the background, allowing you to find solace in familiar tunes and further divert your attention.

At Synergy Radiology, we acknowledge that individuals may experience varying degrees of claustrophobia and anxiety. For those with minor claustrophobic tendencies, we work closely with your referring doctor to discuss available options that can help manage panic and ensure a more comfortable experience. Our compassionate team is committed to understanding your unique needs and providing personalised support throughout the process.

For patients with more significant claustrophobia or heightened anxiety, we offer specialised sedation appointments when deemed suitable. Our experienced healthcare professionals will assess your situation, taking into consideration your medical history, to determine the most appropriate sedation approach. Rest assured, your safety and well-being are of the utmost importance to us, and our team will guide you through the entire process. Find out more information about MRI:

Synergy Radiology has four sites where MRI services are available: Campsie, Norwest, Auburn, and Rouse Hill.

At Synergy Radiology, we prioritise your comfort and well-being throughout your MRI journey. Our dedicated team of radiologists, technologists, and support staff is committed to ensuring that your experience is as stress-free as possible. By providing a calming environment, relaxation tools, and tailored approaches to managing anxiety, we aim to help you overcome any potential barriers to receiving essential MRI screenings.

Take the first step towards a comfortable MRI experience by booking your appointment with Synergy Radiology today. Our compassionate care and commitment to patient comfort set us apart. Together, we will make your MRI journey a breeze, allowing for early detection and effective treatment, ultimately improving your overall health outcomes.

Remember, your health is our priority!

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I have been referred for an MRI, but I want to avoid exposure to radiation.

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) generates magnetic fields and radio frequencies, not x rays, so patients are not at risk of radiation exposure when undergoing an MRI scan. However, due to the strong magnetic fields, some patients cannot have an MRI. Prior to booking an MRI scan, patients are asked extensive safety questions about previous surgeries and injuries from metal to ensure they are safe. If you have any concerns about your suitability for MRI, you should discuss these with your doctor or one of our radiographers.

I suffer from claustrophobia, what can be done to manage my anxiety?

For patients who have claustrophobia, like CT scans, MRI’s can also be an anxiety inducing medical exam. The procedure requires patients to have the majority of their body slid inside a well-lit but narrow, tube of the MRI machine where they will be asked to lay still for the duration of the scan, which ranges from 15-90 minutes (depending on the area or size being scanned). Due to the way the image is created an MRI can be quite noisy. It’s always important to mention if you have any concerns when booking for an MRI. Synergy Radiology has experience working with patients who have claustrophobia, we also have a larger MRI tube at our Rouse Hill and Campsie sites that provides more room for the patient undergoing the procedure. We also provide light sedation for patients with severe claustrophobia. Please discuss this with your referring doctor.

How do I know if my MRI will be bulk billed or if I will have to pay?

At Synergy Radiology, when we receive your referral, your referral is protocolled with the radiographers and radiologists. The billing is determined by a few factors:

  • If the MRI scanner has a partial licence
  • If the referral is from a GP or Specialist
  • If your clinical indication fits the Medicare eligibility/criteria
  • The body part being imaged
  • Pre-approval for work-related injuries

What is an MRI partial licence?

It is a government-granted Medicare licence that allows bulk billing of adult MRI’s for certain regions such as the head, C-spine and knee for specific conditions (for GP referrals only) and a few specific specialist referrals for the abdomen and pelvis. There are other regions that are also included for under 16 years of age. The government restricts the number of licences in each state. The allocation is based on need in an area.

Does Synergy Radiology have a partial licence for MRI?

Yes, at Norwest medical imaging, Auburn medical imaging, and Campsie medical imaging. At our Rouse Hill Medical Imaging we have a full licence allowing the bulk billing of eligible MRI referrals from specialists.


If you need to get an MRI and have more questions you’d like answered, speak to someone from our friendly customer care team who can help you prepare for your test or discuss any concerns you may have. Call us today (02) 8881 3888.

Synergy Radiology strengthens its expertise as Dr. Nan Wang joins the team.

Dr Nan Wang completed his radiology training at Liverpool Hospital, and is a dual fellowship-trained radiologist in paediatric imaging from Westmead Children’s Hospital and body oncology imaging from Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York.  He was involved in immunotherapy treatment research, RECIST assessment, and multidisciplinary meetings in gynaecological, rectal and prostate oncology.

Dr Wang’s interests lie in abdominal and urological MRI imaging and oncology, and in emergency medicine.

We’re committed to delivering the best possible care for your patients.

The Australian Government has introduced new restrictions, limiting MRI scans of the knee for patients aged 50 or over.

From 1st November 2018, patients aged 50 or over, will not qualify for a Medicare rebate for an MRI of the knee, when referred by a GP.


Click here for further information.