Shoulder MRI scan | Medserena Open MRI

Medserena Shoulder MRI Scan

MRI scan of the shoulder; non-invasive procedure to help diagnose medical conditions relating to the tendons, muscles, cartilage, ligaments and bones of the shoulder joint, price includes:

  • Open and Upright MRI scan
  • 45 minutes appointment
  • Radiologist findings report
  • Images on USB at the end of the scan
    and available to NHS trusts via IEP on request
  • Complimentary refreshments

Please wear metal free clothing and if possible, avoid wearing any jewellery. Alternatively, Medserena can provide you with a gown to change into for your scan. Choose and book your scan now, or scroll down for more shoulder joint MRI scan information.

Book a Shoulder MRI referral now

MANY SCANS Available within 72 hours

Shoulder MRI scan variation and pricing


From £395.00

Shoulder and Elbow

From £790.00

Shoulders Bilateral

From £660.00

Superior healthcare service with every Private MRI scan

Calm, dignified

Little or no
waiting time

Largest MRI scan centres


Watch TV while

Medical report included

About Shoulder MRI Scans

A shoulder MRI scan can reveal the intricate workings inside one of the most flexible and complex joints in the human body. Pain in this area can cause weakness, numbness and stiffness and can restrict movement. This can have a significant impact on everyday activities such as brushing teeth and getting dressed, using a computer, and driving, so it is important to find out what the underlying cause is as soon as possible.

These symptoms could be due to an accident such as a sports injury, or fall, or from longer term chronic wear and tear from a repetitive action, and conditions such as arthritis.

A shoulder MRI scan may be able to identify the cause of unexplained shoulder pain or shed further light on a problem earlier identified on an x-ray, showing a detailed picture of not only bone structure, but tendons, muscles, cartilage, and ligaments, as well as blood vessels, infections, and tumours.

Medserena shoulder MRI scan

Medserena’s shoulder MRI scan is carried out in an upright scanner so the shoulder can be viewed when in rotational positions with the patient laying sideways in the scanner with their arm in a rest. A shoulder MRI gives clear views of the rotator cuff, a group of muscles and tendons that support and stabilise the shoulder, any injuries to the biceps tendon and damage to the glenoid labrum (the soft fibrous tissue rim that helps stabilise the joint.) It can also help determine which patients with shoulder injuries will need surgery.

MRI scans are painless and because in an open scanner a patient’s head is not enclosed, they are less intimidating for people who suffer from anxiety about being in confined spaces or suffer claustrophobia, a condition that affects around 10 per cent of the population.

Other benefits of a Medserena Shoulder MRI Scan

Open MRI scanners are a stress-free alternative to using a conventional enclosed tunnel MRI scanner, providing comfort and reassurance for people who suffer from anxiety or claustrophobia.

Open MRI scans can also accommodate larger/heavier patients who might have difficulty fitting comfortably into a conventional tunnel scanner, as they can take weights of up to 35 stone (226kg). However, suitability depends on the patient’s body shape and the area of anatomy that needs investigating.

Available to self-pay clients, clients with private health insurance and NHS patients where prior funding has been agreed by a clinical commissioning group.

What conditions can a shoulder MRI scan pick up?

The shoulder is made up of a ball and socket joint. The humerus (upper arm bone) and the scapula (shoulder blade), and the clavicle (collar bone) joins the shoulder blade to the sternum (breastbone). They work together to allow 360 degrees rotation of the arm. There are many shoulder problems that can be diagnosed with an MRI scan, including:

  • Rotator cuff tears and tendonitis: Rotator cuff disorders are the most common cause of shoulder pain seen in general practice. These include rotator cuff tendinopathy (tiny tears or inflammation) or impingement and full rotator cuff tears. There is an increased incidence of shoulder pain in people who carry out repetitive overhead activities including sports such as baseball or volleyball, which involve repetitive throwing and occupations such as painting or carpentry. The main symptoms are pain especially when lifting, reaching behind the back, and sleeping on the affected side.
  • Shoulder instability: This usually occurs when the lining of the shoulder joint (the capsule), ligaments or labrum become stretched, torn, or detached, allowing the ball of the shoulder joint (humeral head) to move either completely or partially out of the socket. It can be a one-off or become a recurrent problem and needs urgent medical treatment. An MRI shoulder scan is the best tool for assessing shoulder instability.
  • Labral tear: Overuse of the shoulder joint or an accident can cause a tear in the labrum, a cup-shaped rim of cartilage that lines and reinforces the ball-and-socket joint of the shoulder.) It is usually caused by repetitive movements or traumatic injuries.
  • Frozen shoulder: This is a common progressive condition which causes pain and movement restriction. Although most cases are diagnosed clinically by taking a history and an examination, studies have shown MRI shoulder scans can be useful for identifying an underlying cause.
  • Arthritis in the shoulder joint: Osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis wears out the cartilage in the joint causing pain, swelling and stiffness.
  • Inflammatory arthritis: Axial SpA is a form of inflammatory arthritis that affects the central skeleton from the neck down, causing pain and stiffness, and is visible on an MRI scan, but not an x-ray in its early stages.


The Upright MRI is truly open. There are no tunnels, no narrow tubes. The system is particularly quiet, the examination is comfortable and does not trigger feelings of being in a confined space. This means that the Upright MRI is particularly tolerated by patients who suffer from “claustrophobia”.

Because the system offers you an unrestricted view, you can watch TV or see DVD movies on a large screen during the scan. Wearing headphones – as with other MRI systems – is usually not necessary.

According to the current state of knowledge, there is no danger to the patient’s health as magnetic resonance imaging only uses magnetic fields and radio waves.

Metallic foreign bodies within the patient, such as fixed dental prosthesis, artificial joints or metal plates after treatment for a fracture do not usually pose any danger. However, it is important to clarify that the implants you use are MRI-compatible before the examination.

MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) utilises a large magnet, radio waves and a computer to form images of your body. It is non-invasive, painless and does not use any ionising radiation.

Our truly open MRI can scan you in different positions. Through the utilisation of a specially designed MRI system we can offer weight-bearing scans – sitting or standing. The design of the system allows the patient to be positioned in different postures (e.g. flexion or extension) so that the patient may be examined in the position where they experience pain. The reason to do this is that some pathologies are underestimated or even not seen in a conventional supine MRI scan. The technique has value in many applications: e.g. spine, knees, hips, ankles. This has been proven in scientific studies and documented in peer reviewed publications.

In addition, it offers the possibility of performing an MRI scan on patients who could not otherwise tolerate the examination. This may include the claustrophobic patient, who benefits from the truly open nature of the equipment, and the severely kyphotic patient or emphysema sufferer who simply cannot lie down. It can also facilitate scanning of large patients who struggle to fit conventional ‘bore’ MRI scanners.

Of course, we have a comfortable waiting area but if you want them to stay in the scan room with you, they will also need to fill out a safety questionnaire. There is enough space for a companion. The person can even hold your hand and communicate with you during the examination. This is particularly beneficial when examining teenager.

This depends above all on which part of the body needs to be examined. In the Upright MRI, special examinations can be carried out in various body positions. The entire scan generally takes between 30 and 45 minutes. However, since you have the opportunity to watch TV or DVD, this time will go by much quicker.

Eat and drink normally and, unless your doctor tells you otherwise, please continue taking medications as normal. If you have any special needs (e.g. wheelchair access) please inform us when making the appointment.

Your appointment confirmation; referral letter/form; Medical Insurance details if applicable. We accept all major debit/credit cards.

We will provide a gown/clothing for you to wear when you are scanned. If you prefer to wear your own, please ensure that you wear or bring clothing without any metal fasteners, zips or under-wiring as these cannot be worn in the scan room. The changing room can be locked for safe storage of your possessions.

You will be able to walk into the scanner. It has no tunnel or bore. You will be able to hear us and talk with us during your scan if necessary-and we will be able to see you at all times. Due to its open nature, you will even be able to watch TV or a DVD whilst having the scan. Depending on which part of you is being scanned, you may be asked to sit or stand, and assume different postures (for example bending forward.) The radiographer may place a receiver “coil” around the relevant area of your body. You will need to remain very still while the acquisition is done in order to prevent blurring of the images. You will hear some tapping from the scanner but in general it is much quieter than many other MRI scanners.

You will not feel anything while having the scan. There is no pain or unusual feeling of any type and you will experience no after effects.

YES. There are some things that can prevent you from having an MRI scan. You will be asked to complete a safety questionnaire on arrival at the Centre which will cover the contra-indications-but if you are making an appointment and any of the factors below affect you, please discuss this with us in advance as it may save you a wasted trip.

Contra-indications can include:

  • Pacemaker
  • IUDs
  • Surgical clips
  • Pregnancy
  • Metal fragments in the body
  • Metal pins/plates/screws
  • Joint replacements
  • Metal objects in eyes
  • Cochlear implants
  • IVC filters
  • Metal heart valves
  • Penile implants

It is also important to tell us if you have any tattoos or piercings.

Watches, jewellery, coins, keys, cigarette lighters, penknives, credit cards. piercings, hairgrips, wigs, nicotine patches, and hearing aids must be removed.

Your scan will be reported by a Consultant Radiologist. It will normally be available in a couple of days unless needed urgently. The images and report will be sent to your referring practitioner. If you have a follow up appointment, please make us aware of the details so we can ensure the report and images are available in time.