Pediatric Imaging - Magnetic Resonance Imaging
What is an MRI?
The MRI is a way to take pictures of the body using a large magnet, radiowaves, and a computer. The MRI does not use radiation.
The MRI is a really large magnet with a circle shape opening. There is a table that moves in and out of the scanner. The patient may hear different sounds during the exam such as knocks, beeps, and hums. These sounds are all normal.
During the scan, the technologist will be able to talk to your child and explain when the noises will occur and how long they will last. Parents are more than welcome to go into the scan room if the child is awake as long as they screen "ok" for the MRI environment.
The scanner does not touch or hurt the patient. If an IV is required for contrast, there may be minimal pain during the IV insertion. IV contrast is given to enhance the pictures.
LMX cream can be applied at the start of the exam if desired. The LMX cream numbs the skin so that your child cannot feel the IV poke.
What happens during the MRI?
The entire exam may take from 40-60 minutes depending on the exam that has been ordered. It is very important that the patient holds very still while the MRI is taking pictures. Your child may be able to wiggle between a series of pictures. If the child is unable to hold still, it might be necessary to schedule the exam with anesthesia or sedation.
If the child will be awake for the procedure, we encourage you to bring a favorite DVD or CD (if applicable) for the patient to watch or listen to during the exam. The St. Mary's 3T MRI also features CinemaVision - the CinemaVision experience is similar to watching a high-resolution 62-inch screen from 5.5 feet away. CinemaVision provides multiple entertainment options from standard television, DVD, CD, and AM/FM input, while offering two-way communication with technologists and dramatically reducing outside noise.
It is best if your child is dressed in comfortable clothes that do not have zippers or buttons. If the clothing may interfere with the pictures, a gown will be provided. All metal objects must be kept outside of the room.
When You Arrive
The Radiology staff will have you fill out screening forms before the exam begins.
After the exam
If the exam is performed without sedation or anesthesia your child should be able to resume normal activities immediately.
The results from the exam are sent directly to the ordering physician. Your child's physician will discuss the findings with you.