Clinical guidance for MRI referral

Patient information
☰ Table of contents

What patients may ask about MRI referrals

NPS Medicine Wise  recommends that patients ask their health professional the following questions about imaging:

  • How will the imaging help my condition or injury?
  • What does the imaging procedure involve?
  • Are there any risks associated with the imaging?
  • Are there any other options?
  • How much will the imaging cost?

Other questions patients may ask include:

  • How much do the benefits outweigh the risks for someone of my age and condition?
  • If you subsequently refer me to a specialist, will I have to have these MRIs repeated (and pay for them again)?
  • What is the likelihood of incidental findings? How do you determine if they are clinically significant or not?

GPs will need to be prepared to answer these questions and be able to discuss limitations and expectations with patients.

Patient resources

The RANZCR manages a consumer website called Inside Radiology, which answers basic questions about imaging, including MRI. 

NPS MedicineWise has patient-focused information about MRI, which includes an explanation of when MRI is and is not used, as well as the risks and benefits of MRI.