MRI scans for children

Boy going into a scanner

This is a scan that uses magnetic energy to build up a picture of the tissues inside the body.

Before the test
Your child may have an injection of dye before the scan to show up certain parts of their body. If the Hickman line cannot be used, your child may have a very small tube put into their hand or foot and the dye will be injected into it. Your child may be asked not to eat or drink anything for a time before the scan, and they will need to remove any hair clips, jewellery, prosthetics or anything else that might contain metal. Those who have certain medical devices in their body, like fixed braces or a metal pin, may not be suitable for the test.

Younger children may be sedated or have a general anaesthetic before the test, as it’s important that they lie very still during the scan. If they have a general anaesthetic they will need to fast (not eat or drink) for a time beforehand.

During the test
Your child will lie on a bed which slides into a tube-shaped machine while the scan is being done. You can stay with your child during the scan.

Does it hurt?
No. The scan does not hurt but it may be noisy. The MRI machine is quite loud so both you and your child will be given ear protection.

How long does it take?
About 30 minutes

After the test
Your child should be able to go home straight after the scan. If your child has had a general anaesthetic they can go home once they have recovered from the anaesthetic. 

Are there risks / side-effects?  

For more information

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1800 200 700

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