The Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust

fMRI Scan

An 'fMRI scan' is a functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging scan (fMRI), it is different from an MRI scan. An fMRI uses an MRI scanner but what is involved is different.

Why are you having an fMRI?

Your Neurologist/Neurosurgeon needs to identify important brain areas in your brain, for example for movement (motor) fMRI these encompass HANDS (‘hand area’), TOES (‘toe area’) and FACE (lip area) fMRI investigations (scans). There are other fMRI investigations for the AUDITORY, SENSORY, VISUAL, SPEECH and MEMORY brain function. You may not require all of these investigations (scans) and may require a few of these; you will be informed which ones on the day of your fMRI.

This information is just for familiarisation, you don't need to memorise any of this.


What does an fMRI involve?

An fMRI involves you being in an MRI scanner and performing various tasks, for example moving your fingers (for the ‘hand area’), or moving your toes (for the toe area), or lip movements (for the lip area). You will need to follow instructions on a screen when you are in the scanner. These instructions will be in large font (you cannot wear glasses in the scanner, contact lens are okay).

You will have opportunity to practice prior to your actual scan. Please do ask any questions if you are unsure during your practice session (on the day of your scan).

There are no injections (or dyes) you need for an fMRI scan (so you can have your normal breakfast, dinner, etc). You will need to keep you head very still, the more you keep your head still, the better the brain images we will obtain.

There are other investigations for SENSORY, AUDITORY, SPEECH, VISION, and MEMORY function. If you need one of these investigations you will be shown what to do during a practice session on the day of your scan.