Short Series: The Insight - MRI


Welcome to part three of the Lake Imaging Short Series - The Insight.

The aim of this short series is to inform patients about different types of medical imaging scans so they have a better understanding and can therefore be more comfortable when they require an examination at Lake Imaging.


Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)

In our third part of The Insight, we discuss the MRI services offered at Lake Imaging and profile our new Ballarat MRI Supervisor Andrew Nicholson.

Lake Imaging is one of the largest MRI providers in regional Western Victoria, as well as multiple locations in the Western suburbs of Melbourne.

Currently, Lake Imaging has MRI a host of Medicare rebatable and non-Medicare rebatable across Western Victoria including 2 machines in Ballarat, 2 machines in Geelong, Sunbury and Melton as well as in Warrnambool (serviced by Western District Radiology).

What is an MRI?

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is a non-invasive and advanced medical procedure. MRI uses a strong magnet, radio waves and a powerful computer to produce detailed pictures of your body.

These high-quality images provide information to your doctor about structures and processes within your body. This helps your doctor diagnose your condition and plan treatment options.

MRI does not use x-rays or radiation. When safety precautions are followed, MRI is not known to cause any long-term harmful effects.

What does an MRI look like?

The above image is of a 1.5T Aera which is the same as one of the two machines located at our Geelong- St John of God clinic. A wide bore (wider tunnel) on selected machines are throughout Lake Imaging practices for patient comfort for those who require a larger environment.

Staying perfectly still during an MRI:

Throughout your scan you will be required to stay as still as possible. This is vital in order to produce clear images for our Radiologists to report on and conduct an accurate report to your referring doctor.

Do MRI's make loud noises?

How an MRI machine works is a complex scientific process, however the noises which sometimes can be resembled to an industrial or jack hammer noise occurring throughout your scan. You will be given ear plugs as well as your choice of music to make your experience as comfortable as possible.  

For those who are interested in the in-depth scientific reason why you hear those noises, the reason why louder noises occur during scanning are from vibrations of gradient coils as rapidly switched electrical currents pass through them. This process is essential in order to create a magnetic field (measured in teslas) and determine how tissues react/change. These elements are measured and transformed into anatomic images. The vibrations through the coils may be radiated into the air as sound waves, or transmitted by physical linages to other parts of the building. Each pulse sequence produces a characteristic noise pattern based on its gradient waveform.

Children and MRI's:

MRI machines can seem daunting to the best of adults, however you can imagine as a child this type of examination may make them a little nervous. 
There are many great resources out there to help explain MRIs to children, one of them including this one which goes over not only the process of an MRI, but captures the noises that they will hear whilst in an MRI scanner. The video also has an example of  the images that the scan will capture.

Further information on MRI & Bookings:

Types of MRI's Lake Imaging Provide:

Our website has comprehensive information about the MRI's we offer as well as what to expect when you come in for your MRI.
Please click here to access this information. To make a booking at any on any of our MRI's, please go to our booking form to find your nearest location MRI is provided.
Please ensure you upload your referral in while requesting an appointment so our MRI booking team can ensure your examination is booked correctly.
One of our booking team will then be in contact with you shortly to offer you the next available appointment.  



Profile: Andrew Nicholson

Role: MRI Supervisor- Ballarat

Andrew's Education:
Sound Production RMIT
Bachelor Radiation Sciences (Medical Imaging) CSU
MRI Level One Certificate ASMIRT

Andrew's Career Pathway:

In a previous career life, Andrew was a successful Sound Engineer working as the Technical Director of Solution Red (an Event Production Company) as well as being a Freelance Sound Engineer.
Since deciding moving forward he would like to get into the Radiology industry, Andrew completed a Bachelor of Radiation Sciences (Medical Imaging) through Charles Sturt University.
After completing his Bachelor, Andrew joined Lake Imaging and has worked within the group for 6 years.

As Andrew progressed through his career at Lake Imaging, he knew that MRI was a particular modality he would like to further expertise in. Therefore Andrew decided to become MRI Level One Certified through the Australian Society of Medical Imaging and Radiation Therapy (ASMIRT) (Formally known as the Australian Institute of Radiography).

In December 2016, after being granted extended leave and travelling the world for 10 months, Andrew was offered the position of MRI Supervisor of the Ballarat Region of Lake Imaging.
"After the 10 months of travelling the world, I'm really looking forward to all the challenges this new role may present me. More importantly, I look forward to providing a positive experience for all of our patients and referring doctors."