Getting an MRI? Here’s 5 commonly asked questions answered to help you plan

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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.