MRI Head Scan- Choose Taranaki Radiology


Taranaki Radiology is home to Taranaki’s first and only 3 Tesla MRI scanner.

3T MRI is the most powerful scanner in clinical use being twice as powerful as other 1.5T MRI scanners available in the region, providing more detailed information and a more accurate diagnosis in less time. It excels at capturing very detailed images of tiny anatomical structures such as blood vessels, brain structures and joints.

3T MRI is a significant step forward in medical imaging – our Siemens MAGNETOM Skyra 3T MRI is a game-changer and offers a more spacious scan experience.

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a scan that your referrer may order for you to diagnose a disease or injury, or to see how well a treatment is working.

 Mammogram at Taranaki Radiology


Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), is best for evaluating:

  • Prostate MRI – is used to assess problems including infection, enlarged prostate, complications from surgery, or possible prostate cancer. The prostate is best visualized on a 3T MRI machine and our equipment does not require the use of an endorectal coil, making the test non-invasive and more comfortable.
  • Musculoskeletal (MSK) MRI is typically performed to diagnose or evaluate degenerative joint disorders such as arthritis, tears of the menisci, ligaments and tendons (knee) or rotator cuff and labrum (shoulder and hip), fractures, infection, injury strains, and tumours.
  • Spinal MRI – can detect changes in cartilage and bone structure resulting from injury, disease, or aging. These changes may include: herniated discs, pinched nerves, spinal tumors, spinal cord compression, and fractures.
  • Body MRI – of chest, abdomen or pelvis is used to visualize bones, organs, blood vessels, and other tissues in the area being scanned. Contrast material may be used to check blood flow, find some types of tumors or show areas of inflammation and infection.
  • Brain MRI – can be used to detect brain tumors, traumatic brain injury, developmental anomalies, multiple sclerosis, stroke, dementia, infection, and causes of headache.
  • MRI Enterography – is used for diagnosing and monitoring inflammatory bowel diseases such as Crohn’s disease.
  • MRA (Magnetic Resonance Angiography) is used to view arteries without contrast dye and can detect aneurysms, blockages of the blood vessels, arterial disease, and other abnormalities.



  • We will do everything we can to help you stay comfortable during your MRI examination. Our goal is to capture high-quality images the first time and get the answers you and your referrer need to guide your care.
  • Our skilled, caring technologists will talk you through every step of the examination. During your scan, the technologist will check with you regularly to make sure you are doing OK.
  • You will be given a squeeze bulb so you can communicate with the technologist throughout your scan.
  • MRI machines are noisy, so you will be asked to use earplugs and noise-canceling headphones to help block out the noise. You can choose the music you would like to listen to during your scan.
  • The scanning room is kept cool for the MRI machine, but let your technologist know if you feel cold.
  • If you are uncomfortable at any time during your examination, use the squeeze bulb to let your technologist know.

Metal is not allowed in the MRI room because the magnetic field in the scanner attracts metal. Even some fabrics contain small amounts of metal, which can cause burns.
That is why we ask all of our patients to change into an examination gown for their MRI scan.
You will be given a basket to store your clothes and anything else you may have with you during your examination. You will be asked to remove any metal objects—even small ones—including jewellery, watches or hair clips.

An MRI staff member will review the MRI safety checklist with you. This is to make sure you don’t have any metal in your body that could be unsafe in the MRI scanner.

These could include:

  • Hearing aids
  • Body piercings
  • Metal implants (such as valves, clips, stents, joints or limbs)
  • Metal fragments (such as bullets, shrapnel or filings)
  • Skin patches that contain metal
  • Diabetes related medical supplies
  • Implanted devices (such as cardiac pacemakers, neurostimulators, cochlear ear implants, drug pumps, cardioverter-defibrillator)
  • Pins or screws

All patients have to complete an MRI Patient Safety Screening Questionnaire before being determined safe to proceed with the scan.


  • We will give you a call before your appointment to talk through preparation instructions and your past imaging examinations.
  • You will need to complete a MRI Patient Safety Screening Questionnaire so that we can assess that you are able to safely undergo your scan.
  • If your MRI examination requires contrast, we will discuss any special requirements with you.
  • Be sure to tell us if you are pregnant, breast feeding, or if there is a chance you may be pregnant.
  • On the day of your MRI scan, please arrive at Magnet House 20 minutes early for check-in.
  • If you have arranged to have oral sedation prior to your scan, you will be asked to check-in 1 hour before your appointment time. Please do not take your sedative tablets until you have checked in as we need to ask you questions before you take the tablets. Your support person must be on site for the duration of your MRI examination and to take you home.
  • Once you have arrived and checked in at Magnet House, you will be led to a changing room and given an examination gown to wear for your exam. You will be given a basket to store your clothes, and anything else you may have with you.
  • The technologist will help position you on a cushioned table. Your position and how much of your body will be inside the MRI will depend upon the body part being scanned.
  • Often, an imaging device called a coil will be placed around the area of the body to be scanned. The coil acts like an antenna to help capture high quality images of your body.
  • You will be asked to wear earplugs and headphones for the duration of your scan.
  • Once you are comfortably positioned, the technologist will go out of the scan room to operate the scanner from a computer located directly next to the scanner suite, visible through the viewing window. The technologist will communicate with you throughout the examination and check to see how you are doing.
  • When the scan starts, the table you are on will move into the scanner so the technologist can capture images. It is important to lie as still as possible during this part of the exam to help us capture clear images. You will hear “knocking” or “buzzing” sounds for a few minutes at a time.
  • Depending on the part of the body being scanned, MRI Contrast (a special dye that helps highlight your anatomy) may be needed.
    The MRI contrast will be administered through an IV cannula placed in your hand or arm before your examination.
  • When your scan is complete, you’ll be escorted back to the changing cubicle so you can change back into your clothing.
  • Once you have changed, your appointment is complete. 
  • After the exam, your images will be sent electronically to a radiologist who will review the information and send a report to the person who referred you for your scan.  The report can be sent to your GP, Physiotherapist or other health provider as you require, just ask.
  • You should follow up with your referrer to discuss your results.


What is an MRI scan?

MRI stands for Magnetic Resonance Imaging. 

MRI does not use any radiation to create an image. Instead, MRI uses a strong magnetic field and radio waves to make detailed images of the part of your body being examined which are reconstructed by a computer.

Is it safe for me to have an 3T MRI scan?

As the 3T MRI is a very strong magnet it is important for us to know at the time of your booking if you have any of the following:

  • Brain Aneurysm Clip
  • Cardiac Pacemaker
  • Artificial Heart Valve
  • Metal in your eyes
  • Pregnancy (1st trimester)
  • Infusion Pump
  • Stapedectomy
  • Cochlear Ear Implant
  • Neurostimulator implant

Your safety is our priority so you will be asked to complete an 3T MRI patient safety screening questionnaire to assist with this assessment. It is also important for us to know whether you’re claustrophobic, as sedation from your GP can be organised to help you feel more comfortable. However we must be aware of this, as your preparation differs.

What to expect from an MRI scan with contrast?

Your MRI experience may come with an injection. If your referrer has asked for an MRI scan with contrast (or the radiologist recommends one), you will have an IV placed into a vein in your arm in readiness for the contrast to be administered.
During your scan, the technologist will take some initial scan images and then the technologist will give you an injection of contrast through the IV before taking further follow-up images.
The contrast can highlight certain cancers or infected areas. Taking “before” and “after” contrast images can help your radiologist give you the most accurate diagnosis.

Can I have an MRI scan if I am claustrophobic?

A wider tunnel allows more space and enhances patient comfort.  This is especially valuable for very claustrophobic or larger patients.

Our 3T MRI scanner is fully lit, ventilated, and open at both ends. Taranaki Radiology has invested in a scanner that has a wider opening and better lighting in the scanner tunnel. This type of MRI scanner greatly improve patients’ comfort during the scan and also yields higher resolution so the images are clearer.

At Taranaki Radiology we treat you like the individual you are. We try to find the most comfortable and easiest method for you to successfully complete your MRI. Our well-trained technologists work very closely with you to help lower anxieties, and we will tell you how long to expect your imaging to actually take. If you are concerned about how you will tolerate your MRI exam, we urge you to ask your doctor to develop a plan to help you. If you are having a MRI appointment, your doctor may prescribe an oral medication (mild sedative) for you to take to minimise your anxiety.

Will I fit in the scanner?

Our 3T MRI scanner has a wider bore (tunnel opening). The wider tunnel allows more space and enhances patient comfort. This is especially valuable for very claustrophobic or larger patients.
We are able to accommodate patients up to 250 kgs.

Can I drive after an MRI scan?
You may drive after your MRI scan unless you have been given sedation, in which case your support person will be asked to drive you home.

Service Location: Magnet House


59 Vivian Street, New Plymouth

8am-5pm weekdays

Appointments available evenings and weekends

Phone 06 759 4317 extension 710