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Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a scan used to take very detailed pictures inside the body. An MRI uses magnets, invisible radio waves and a computer to take the very clear pictures.

An MRI is very safe for children of all ages, it is painless and does not use radiation.

My first MRI

When you have an MRI you need to lay very still for the pictures to be taken. Children can watch a movie from the selection provided inside the MRI, however they will still hear some of the loud knocking noises the MRI makes.

To prepare your child for their first MRI, watch the video below.

Preparing for your MRI

You will need to bring to the appointment with a completed 'MRI Patient Safety Questionnaire Form'. This form was sent to you in the letter confirming your appointment.

Your child may need to change into a hospital gown. If they are uncomfortable doing this, they will need to wear clothing without metal clips, buttons or zippers.

One parent or carer may go in the room with their child, however you will need to complete a questionnaire. Some medical devices implanted in the body are affected by the MRI, so you may not be able to go in if you have a medical implant.

Before the examination your child and the parent/carer going into the room will need to remove glasses, dentures, hearing aides, credit cards, jewellery, hair clips, wallet, coins, keys and other metallic objects. Do not wear hairspray or make-up as they may affect the scan quality.

Intravenous contrast

Some children require an intravenous contrast for their scan. Contrast is injected into a vein and is sometimes required when more detailed pictures are needed.

You will be asked to provide consent prior to your child receiving the intravenous contrast.

MRI scan with sedation or general anaesthetic

Some children and young people can get very anxious and stressed about having an MRI and may not be able to stay still, which may mean they will require sedation or a general anaesthetic for the scan to be performed.

Having sedation depends on their age and circumstances. Your child will be assessed to see if this is the best option for them. Fasting instructions will be provided for your child to follow prior to the scan.

If your child requires a general anaesthetic your child will need to fast before their scan. Further instructions will be given to you of your child requires this.

Familiarising your child with the MRI and MRI process by watching the above video may assist in reducing their anxiety and avoid requiring sedation or a general anaesthetic.

What happens after the scan?

If your child did not require sedation or a general anaesthetic you can leave after the scan is finished, no after effects are caused by the MRI itself.

If your child required sedation or a general anaesthetic, they will need to remain at the hospital until your child recovers properly and staff let you know it is ok to go home.

MRI results

Following the scan, a Radiologist will interpret the scan and your results sent to your referring doctor within a few days (usually five working days).

Results are not available at the completion of the scan.

Appointments and enquiries

Phone:  (02)49 213396
Fax:      (02)49 213399

Office hours are Monday to Friday from 8.30am to 5pm.