Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a medical imaging technology used to diagnose and plan the treatment of many conditions without using radiation. MRI technology generates detailed two-dimensional and three-dimensional images of the soft tissues of the body such as organs and muscles. These images make it much easier for your child's doctor to distinguish between normal and abnormal tissues.
On average, a MRI scan lasts about one hour. During this time, your child will need to lie very still. MRI scanners are safe but can be loud and frightening to children. At Riley at IU Health, we provide MRI scanners with entertainment systems that allow your child to watch cartoons or movies. This helps keep him or her calm and distracted from the noise of the machine. Your child may need to be sedated for this exam for the best results.
Your child’s MRI results will be available to his or her referring physician within 48 hours. The physician will then contact you with the results and discuss further options and treatments available for your child based on the MRI results.
A MRI receptionist will call you two to three days in advance to confirm the appointment time and give you your child’s eating instructions and arrival time. If your child is being sedated for the MRI procedure, a radiology nurse will call a week before the scheduled MRI with specific eating and arrival instructions. Make sure your child follows all eating instructions.
For your child’s safety, bring a list of all your child’s medications and information about any surgical implants he or she may have. Your child should wear clothing without metal, such as clothing without zippers, buckles or snaps. We encourage children to bring their favorite DVD to watch or CD to listen to music.
On the day of your child’s MRI procedure, an anesthesiologist will discuss the sedation process with you if applicable.
The MRI technologist will perform a thorough MRI safety screening, consisting of a patient-provided form and use of a metal detector. You are welcome to accompany your child into the magnet room.
The MRI scanner contains a highly magnetic field. Anyone planning to enter the MRI scan room must first walk through a metal prescreening device. Before entering the prescreening area, we will ask you to remove any items containing metal, including:
Once your child is prepared for the MRI, he or she will be positioned on the MRI table by a pediatric-trained MRI technologist. The technologist will make sure your child is as comfortable as possible. The technologist will talk to your child before beginning each scan and ask him or her to remain very still during the scan to ensure high-quality images.
If your child is not being sedated for the procedure, you or another caregiver may be present for the entire MRI. Once the scanning begins, your child will be constantly monitored by the pediatric-trained MRI technologist. Your child may be instructed to hold his or her breath for some cardiac and abdominal imaging.
If your child requires sedation for the exam, he or she will need to be monitored by a radiology registered nurse until it is safe to leave the hospital. Your child may eat, drink and return to normal activities after the exam in complete.
In addition to our primary hospital location at the Academic Health Center in Indianapolis, IN, we have convenient locations to better serve our communities throughout the state.
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