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MRI Scan- Definition & Methodology

A young mother soothes her child before an MRI procedure at a diagnostic center.
Anderson Team
March 15, 2023
Est. Reading: 5 minutes

Childhood is bliss! The innocence, playfulness and sheer joy that one feels as a child are seldom felt again. All this playfulness is also accompanied by frequent injuries on the playground or at school. Unfortunately, some of these injuries may turn out to be serious, and your kid may need an MRI test taken at your nearest MRI scan centre. In such a situation opting for reputed diagnostics centres is always the right approach. You can always expect the best services with us at Anderson Diagnostics in Chennai. Now, let’s get to know more about MRI scans for kids.

What is an MRI, and how does it work?

An MRI scan is a diagnostic procedure that combines radio waves and a strong magnetic field to provide clear pictures of internal organs, bones, and blood arteries. To take pictures, there is a big "tube" that houses a powerful magnet. Your child will be asked to lie on a "bed" that slides into the tubes for taking the scan images, but it won't actually touch the child. The MRI machine will make a lot of loud pounding and banging noises as it takes pictures. You can prepare your child mentally by telling them what to expect. You can also assure your child that the machine won't touch them.

MRI Scan Process Explained by Experts at MRI Scan Centre, Chennai

There are various kinds of MRI machines. Some appear like narrow tubes. Children who feel uncomfortable in tight, confined areas can avoid these narrow tubes and opt for other options. The machine generates a powerful magnetic field, which, in combination with radio waves, shifts the orientation of hydrogen atoms in the body. After repositioning themselves, they broadcast their new positions. After being picked up by a computer, the signals are interpreted to produce pictures of the patient's body. On the screen, this picture is displayed.

How long will the scan take, and who will do it?

A paediatric radiologist will review the images obtained from your child's MRI scan, which will be performed by a technologist who specialises in MRI procedures. Depending on the area or part of the body being examined, the MRI scan could last anywhere from thirty to ninety minutes.

FAQs on MRI Scans- Crucial Pieces of Information

1. What is the reason my child was asked to get an MRI scan?

MRI scans are crucial in the diagnosis and subsequent treatment of many disorders. Some of them have been listed below:

  • Issues with organs
  • Bone structure issues
  • Injuries
  • Growths
  • Infections

2. Is there a list of precautions to take before the scan procedure?

You and your child will need to fill out an MRI screening form. The MRI technologist will review your information after you've submitted this form. This form will be used to verify that you and your kid can safely enter the MRI room. Your child will be asked to remove any metal objects (including glasses, jewellery, belts, and piercings) before entering the MRI scanner because such objects can get heated and pose a danger. Similarly, electronic devices are not allowed in the MRI room for safety reasons. However, the scan will not damage any orthodontic appliances or dental fillings. If your child has any metal clips implanted during surgery or anything else that could be harmed by a powerful magnet, you will be asked to provide further details. The following information is required for any implanted device, such as a shunt if your child has one:

  • Name of the manufacturer
  • Model and serial number of the device

In most cases, your child will not be able to get an MRI scan without providing this information.

Also Read: Peek-A-Boo! Your Guide to the 12-Week Ultrasound

3. What preparations must be done before getting an MRI scan?

Most MRI exams don't require any particular preparation. If your child has a medical condition or allergy or has had negative responses to medications in the past, you should inform the MRI technician. Before the MRI procedure begins, you can wait in the room with your child. Some scan centres allow parents to stay with their children during the scan. In other cases, you'll be asked to wait in a waiting area or join the technician in an adjoining room. During the time between scans, parents are usually allowed to observe their child through a window and communicate with them via intercom. If your child is awake during the MRI procedure, this can help put them at ease.

4. How can I make the MRI scan comfortable for my child?

  • Browse online to view pictures and videos with MRI scan sounds. Show it to your child, so they know what to expect and won’t be frightened or worried.
  • You can both practise the scan procedure in advance by staying still and lying down. This will help your child feel more at ease during the scan when they are asked to lie down.
  • Never forget that just your presence will bring comfort to your kid. On the day of the scan, ensure you are available near them. If your child has siblings, make alternate arrangements to care for them.
  • It's not safe for pregnant women to stay in the room. So, if the child’s mother is pregnant, make arrangements to entrust the child with another trustworthy adult during the scan procedure.

5. What exactly happens during the MRI scan?

A child life specialist will talk to you about what to expect before, during, and after the MRI procedure. Next, you'll be asked to fill out a screening form to make sure your kid doesn’t have any metal accessories on their body.

  • Your kid will need to use the restroom before the scan and change into a hospital gown or clothes.
  • During the scan, your child can put on headphones and watch a movie or listen to music. They can also request for earplugs if they don’t wish to hear the loud noise of the scan machine.
  • A metal detector wand will be used by the MRI tech to check all patients and visitors entering the MRI room for any metal objects.
  • As your kid comes in, they will be instructed to lie down on the bed. A technician will help your child to lie down on their back in the correct position.
  • A “coil” will be placed on your child’s body precisely over the area to be scanned. It will look like a pad or helmet. It is used to take pictures during the scan.
  • The technician will slowly move your child into the tube so that the scan procedure can start.

6. What happens after the MRI scan is finished?

The examination table will automatically withdraw from the scanner when the scan is complete. Your child will be closely monitored if they were given sedatives or sleep aids during the scan. They will be closely watched till the sedation effect wears off. In case an IV was administered, that will also be removed once your child is fully awake.

If your child's procedure did not involve the use of any sedation, they can resume their regular diet and activities without any delay unless your medical provider suggests otherwise. Any contrast dye given to your child should be eliminated from their system in about 24 hours. Hence, ensure that you give your child plenty of water.

Your kid might be drowsy for a while if they were sedated. It will last only a few hours or, at maximum, until the next day. Your child's doctor will further discuss the MRI findings with you and advise if your child needs any other tests.

The Conclusion

There is no doubt that paediatric MRI scans are simple and safe for kids. If you choose the right diagnostics centre, your child won't be exposed to any harmful magnetic fields or radio waves. The guidelines in this article will also help make the MRI scan more comfortable for your child. Last but not least, ensure that you always choose expert professionals and high-quality equipment for your child’s MRI scan. At Anderson Diagnostics- the top MRI scan centre in Chennai, we provide you with the best care and ensure your child is in safe hands.

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