Information on MRI Scans

This FAQ covers information on locations for getting an MRI and what to do once you have booked your scan.

What is an MRI scan and why have I been referred for one?

A magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan is important tool in helping to diagnose injuries. MRI uses magnets which are non-radiating (i.e. safe) to construct an image of area of the body being scanned. It takes approximately 30 minutes to conduct each scan (area of body imaged).
MRI scans should not be used in isolation and must be combined with patient history and examination findings. At an appointment your doctor will have determined that an MRI is appropriate from taking a history and examining you.

Are there any risks?
There is a risk that if you have a mobile piece of metal inside your body the scanner can cause it to move. Scan locations will provide a checklist to make sure you have no risk of mobile metal inside the body. In addition, some people get claustrophobia and cannot tolerate lying inside an MRI scanner for 30 minutes (usual duration).

How do I organise an MRI scan?
If you have been referred for an MRI scan then you must book and arrange the scan with a (separate) radiology practice. There are many to choose between in Sydney and you can attend whichever radiology practice you choose as your referral is eligible for all MRI machines. You can make your choice based on:
• Convenience of the MRI scanner to your home or work
• Availability of appointments (some places are more heavily booked than others) 

• Cost of the scan 
and whether the scan is eligible for a Medicare rebate (see below) 

Occasionally a certain machine or radiologist will be particularly specialised to deal with your condition, but for most cases the quality of MRI scans performed in Australia is good on most machines. 

Will I get a Medicare rebate or be able to claim on private health insurance for an MRI?
In Australia, some MRI units/scans are Medicare-eligible and others are not. Dr. Samra can order Medicare- eligible MRI scans for certain conditions. If your scan is performed on a Medicare-eligible unit, this referral would allow you to claim a Medicare rebate. You will not be able to claim on any private health insurance for MRI scans.

How much will it cost?
Medicare-eligible unit: You can claim a Medicare rebate for certain scans. Please ask the radiology practice for the full cost of a scan when you are booking, bearing in mind that you are free to shop around.
Non-Medicare-eligible unit: usually less than Medicare-eligible machines, but with no Medicare rebate available. 
Overall cost around $300.
Workers’ Compensation: insurance companies will cover the full cost but must pre- approve the scan in writing. 

MRI Locations

I’ve booked a scan. What do I do next?
1) You need to book in for a review appointment at Sports Lab Alexandria for Dr. Samra to review the films and interpret the report. You need an appointment for this, as results won’t be provided over the phone or via email. 

2) Please ask for the radiology practice to include a report with the films and/or send the report to Dr. Samra: fax (02) 8580 4899.
3) Bring the films to your review appointment.