What is an MRI?
MRI stands for Magnetic Resonance Imaging. Having an MRI does not hurt, and it is safe – no radioactivity is present. It may take up to one hour, or, if your child needs an anesthetic, most of the day.
An MRI scan provides diagnostic information not available when using plain X-rays, ultrasounds, or CT scans. Using a large magnet, radio waves and a computer, an MRI scanner creates very clear and detailed images of organs and tissues in the body.
During the MRI, your child will need to lie very still on a bed that moves slowly into the center of the MRI scanner, which looks like a large round tunnel. Your child should wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothes without zippers, metal snaps or belt buckles, and cannot wear any metal such as retainers, earrings or hairclips. Think super comfy, like sweatpants and a T-shirt.
The MRI scan can be very noisy, with loud knocking sounds, so your child will wear earplugs or headphones. Sometimes music is played. For comfort, your child may want to have their favorite stuffed toy or blanket with them during the scan.
You may not always be able to stay in the room with your child but will be right outside. We know all this can be scary. Hospitals do all they can to make this a good experience for your child.