An MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scan uses a magnetic field rather than X-rays to take pictures of a child’s body. The MRI scanner is a hollow machine with a tube running horizontally through the middle. Your child will lie on a bed that slides into the tube where the scan will take place and can usually last around 15-30 minutes.
Children having the scan without sedation or general anaesthetic do not need to fast or stop eating and drinking before the scan unless this is stated in the appointment letter.
Before entering the MRI room it is important that your child should wear clothes without zips or metal poppers for the scan – otherwise they will need to change into a gown. Before the scan starts a nurse or radiographer will also check you or your child do not have any metallic objects such as jewellery, watches, keys, pens or cards with metallic strips like bank cards etc. as these should also be left outside the scanner room in the lockers provided. It is vital that these items are removed as they can cause the pictures to distort.
For a child, having an MRI scan can be quite a daunting and scary experience, so as a parent or guardian you are always welcome to stay with your child during the scan. However if you are in the first three months of pregnancy, it is essential to inform this beforehand. We like to encourage children to bring along a favourite CD, so they have something to listen to during the scan. Not only does this help to calm nerves but it also makes the time go quicker; keeping them entertained and preventing them from fidgeting with boredom whilst the scan is taking place.
It is critical that during the scan the child does not move. If for some reason there is movement, this will also cause an interference with the pictures, and consequently will have to start over again.
When the scan is about to take place, the MRI Technologist will provide headphones so that your child is able to listen to their music and they will explain the procedure of the scan, how long it can take and provide a button for the child so they are able to communicate with the MRI Technologist at any time if needed.
If you want to learn more about how an MRI Machine works you can visit this website: http://science.howstuffworks.com/mri.htm
Here at The New Malden Diagnostic Centre we can scan both adults and most children without the need for sedation or general anaesthetic.
For the best advice and care please do not hesitate to get in touch, by calling 020 8942 6555 or visiting our website.