Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is a diagnostic imaging procedure that uses a powerful magnet and radiofrequencies to produce images of the body. The computer used in MRI allows us to produce either 2 or 3 dimensional images of structures. It is useful to see tissues anywhere in the body that otherwise may only be seen through surgery.
The MRI machine looks like a small tunnel. The exam table moves through the opening of the tunnel.
The MRI machine makes images that are different than a regular x-ray. It makes cross-sectional images of the body, most often referred to as slices.
Prior to the exam:
There are different preparations to follow depending upon what type of MRI exam your child is having.
If your child is:
The strong magnet may also affect implanted patient devices and other various items. For this reason, everyone MUST be screened to ensure the child as well as parent or guardian, are SAFE to enter the MRI suite.
ALL Implants or Devices must be evaluated by the MRI technologists and radiologists before entering the MRI suite. To ensure efficient screening, prior to arrival please obtain and bring with you the following information about your child's device:
The following ARE NOT allowed into the Children's of Alabama MRI suite:
The following implants/items MUST be evaluated (but not limited to the list below):
The following implants/items require Special Care before and after entering the MRI Field:
All jewelry must be removed prior to entering the scanner room.
Note: If a parent/guardian accompanies the child to their MRI, they must be safety screened. Parents/guardians who are pregnant or may be pregnant will not be permitted to accompany their child during the MRI scan. Please make sure that there is someone else available to be with the child during the scan, if needed.
When you arrive:
Please check in 30 minutes prior to your scheduled appt.
Once the registration process is completed, a technologist will greet you and escort you to the MRI suite for your child's pre-MRI work-up (screening, IV placement).
What to expect during the exam?
You and your child will enter the MRI scanning room with the technologist. The room is kept cool. The technologist will then position your child on the MRI table. Due to the loud nature of the scan, you and your child will be given ear protection to help block out some of the noise.
Your child will be required to hold very still during the scan. Any type of movement during the MRI will make the images appear blurry, which will necessitate repeated scans. This will lengthen the time the test will take.
Your child will not feel the magnetic field from the MRI scan, but sometimes holding still for a long period of time can be uncomfortable. The MRI scan can take anywhere from 30 minutes to 1 hour depending upon the type of examination. Regardless of the length of the exam, the MRI team is there to help him or her get through their experience in the best way possible.
After the exam:
If your child was not sedated there are no special instructions.
If your child received sedation, follow any instructions given by the nurse upon completion of this procedure.
The images from your child's exam are interpreted by a pediatric radiologist and a report is sent to your physician's office.
If your physician has any questions regarding the report, he/she may call 205-638-9730
Question or concern about your child's exam?