Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) Scan

Having an MRI Scan

Your child has been scheduled for an MRI scan. Please arrive 30 minutes before your child's scheduled exam. This will allow time for you to register your child for the exam.

Please bring:

  • Your child's insurance card
  • A list of any medicines (prescription and over the counter) that your child is currently taking
  • Your child's immunization record
  • Your child's Express ID Card, if you have one 

A parent may stay in the MRI room during the exam as long as they pass the screening for safety in the magnetic environment. To enter the MRI room, patients should not wear makeup or creams with glitter, sparkles or a metallic look or clothes with sequins, glitter or metallic thread. The technologist will ask you to fill out a form with several safety questions for you to answer and information about what is and is not allowed in MRI room.

What is MRI?

MRI stands for Magnetic Resonance Imaging, a type of diagnostic imaging that scans a part of the body. MRI uses radio waves and powerful magnets to create a picture. MRI can often provide doctors with information about different parts of the body. No radiation is used during an MRI scan.

Getting Ready for the Test

During the procedure your child will have to hold very still. If your child is unable to hold still or is under 7 years old, they will probably require anesthesia. This is normally determined when the exam is scheduled. Anesthesia patients will go to the Day Surgery Department to get ready for their MRI.

If your child does not require anesthesia, they will come to the Radiology Department. One of the MRI technologists (the person who will be taking your child's exam) will explain how the exam will be done.
An IV may be started. An IV is a small plastic tube inserted with a needle in your child's hand or arm. It is very important that your child hold very still while the IV is started. Your support as a parent is important.


During the Test

The technologist will be able to see, hear and speak with your child at all times using a two-way intercom. MRI exams include multiple pictures, which will take several minutes. Your child will be placed on an exam table. The end of it looks like a donut with a hole in it. The exam your child is having may require medicine. It is important that your child remains very still while the pictures are being taken. For some pictures, your child may be asked to hold his/her breath. When pictures are being taken, your child will hear a tapping or thumping sound.

After the Test

There's a short wait while the pictures are reviewed. When the review is finished, your child will be released. The radiologist will then tell your child's doctor the results of the test.

Commonly Asked Questions About the Exam

How long will the exam take?
An MRI Scan generally takes about one (1) hour to complete.

When will I know the results of the exam?
The radiologist will let your doctor know the results of your child's exam. Your doctor will then discuss the results of the exam with you.

Could my child have a reaction from the contrast used in the exam?
Any child could experience a reaction. Children at higher risk are those having asthma, sensitivity to medicines or an allergen (anything that can cause an allergic reaction), heart failure and those less than 12 months of age.

Possible reactions are: feeling warm, nausea, vomiting, hives, congestion, trouble breathing, apnea (stop breathing), chest pain, and as with many given medicines there is a possibility of a severe reaction, which could result in death.