Radiology

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)

Fetal MRI
Fetal MRI
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What is Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)?

What should you do prior to the exam?

MRI Safety Precautions

What should you do when you arrive?

What should you expect during the exam?

What should you do after the exam?

Test Results

What is Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)?

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. Just imagine looking at a piece of bread from the middle of the loaf — that's what an MRI machine can do!

What should you do prior to the exam?

There are different preparations to follow according to exactly what type of MRI scan your child is having.

If your child is:

If your child has a noted allergy to radiographic contrast, additional preparations may be necessary.

Dress your child comfortably, in clothes that are easily removed (sweat clothes, t -shirts). Your child may be given a gown to change into for the MRI, if required.

If you have copies of your child's previous imaging studies from another institution, please bring them for comparison.

MRI Safety Precautions

The Magnetic Field used in the MRI process will also affect implanted patient devices and other various items. For this reason, every patient MUST be screened to ensure the child and parent or guardian are SAFE to enter the Magnetic Field.

ALL Implants or Devices must be approved by the MRI Technologists and Radiologists before entering the Magnetic Field. To ensure efficient screening, prior to arrival please obtain and bring with you the following information about your child's device:

The following implants/items ARE NOT allowed into the CHOP MRI:

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 and/or metal (zippers, snaps) must be removed prior to entering the scanner room.

Note: Only one parent/guardian will be allowed to accompany the child into the scanner room; other arrangements should be made for siblings. The parent/guardian accompanying the child to their MRI must be safety screened and changed appropriately, if needed, before entering the scanner room.

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.

What should you do when you arrive?

If your appointment is scheduled at the Main Hospital (Wood Building):

You must check in to Wood Radiology Registration, on the 2nd Floor of the Wood Building, 1 1/2 hours prior to your scheduled appointment. This is where your registration process occurs.

The law requires that you bring a prescription from your doctors office stating the exam to be done and the reason for it.

If your insurance requires a referral, it must be presented at the time of registration. Proof of insurance will also need to be provided at this time.

Once the registration process is completed, the MRI Department will be notified. A technologist or nurse will come out to the central registration area and bring you and your child to a room for his or her pre-MRI work-up (screening, IV placement and/or sedation if needed).

If your appointment is scheduled at the Pediatric Imaging Center at King of Prussia:

You must check in at the main registration desk, located in the main waiting room, 45 minutes prior to your scheduled appointment. This is where your registration process occurs.

The law requires that you bring a prescription from your doctors office stating the exam to be done and the reason for it.

If your insurance requires a referral, it must be presented at the time of registration. Proof of insurance will also need to be provided at this time.

Once the registration process is completed, you will be directed to the Radiology waiting room. The MRI technologist will be notified and a technologist or nurse will come out to the Radiology waiting room and bring you and your child to a room for his or her pre-MRI work-up (screening, IV placement and/or sedation if needed).

What should you and your child expect during the exam?

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
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If your child is receiving contrast and/or sedation, you will first be taken to a room for the pre-MRI work-up. To give the contrast and/or sedation, an IV will be placed in your child. The IV may be placed in his or her hand, arm or sometimes, foot. During the IV placement, your child may feel pain or discomfort. Once your child has proper IV access, and/or a sedation assessment is complete, you and your child will be taken to the MRI control room. In the MRI control room, the technologist will ask why the MRI is being performed, explain the scan to both you and your child, and will repeat the safety screening process.

You and your child will then enter the MRI scanning room with the technologist. The room may feel cold to you, so be prepared with layers as needed. You will be asked to take a seat in a chair located near the scanner. You may bring reading materials into the room to occupy yourself. The technologist will then help to position your child on the MRI table according to the type of scan he or she is having. While many children are positioned on their backs, some scans require children to lie on their stomach or side, head first or feet first. Due to the loud nature of the scan, you and your child will be given ear plugs to help block out some of the noise.

Once your child is comfortable on the table, a red light will come on to help align his/her body, ensuring the correct position for the scan. Your child will then be moved into the tunnel of the MRI scanner and, depending on his/her position, may not be able to see you or talk with you.

After the technologist leaves the scanning room, the MRI will begin. The MRI scanner makes many sequences of loud noises, each of which may sound somewhat different.

Sounds your child might hear during an MRI.

Sound One:

Sound Two:

There will be a brief pause after each sequence. The technologist may give your child directions or prompts through a speaker. Your child will be able to communicate back to the technologist through the speaker.

The technologist will ask your child to hold very still during the scan. Any type of movement during the MRI will make the images appear blurry, so the scan may have to be repeated. 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 from 30 minutes to 1 hour for each body part being examined. While some patients do not require sedation for their MRI, others may benefit from emotional and/or medicinal support. Remember, sedation is required for all children under the age of 8. Regardless of the needs your child may have, the MRI team is there to help him/her get through their experience in the best way possible.

Child Life Specialists are available to answer questions you might have about how to prepare and support your child during the procedure. A child life specialist can also be present at the time of your child's appointment to explain the procedure in developmentally appropriate ways using well established preparation materials. The specialist can also be available to help implement distraction techniques to help your child better cope with the stress of the hospital experience. Please call 215-590-2001 or click the link above for more information. If your child's procedure is scheduled for the Pediatric Imaging Center at King of Prussia, you can call the Child Life Specialist directly at 215-590-3069.

What should you do after the exam?

If your child received contrast, it is important to mildly increase their fluid intake for the day.

If your child received sedation, follow any instructions given by the sedation nurses upon completion of this procedure.

Test Results

The images from your childs exam are interpreted on the same day and a report sent to your physician's office.

If your physician has any questions regarding the report, he/she may call 215-590-2584.

Here is an example of what your child's MRI scan may look like

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Appointments

CHOP is recognized by the American College of Radiology for our commitment to safe imaging practices in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). The MRI Accreditation Program evaluates staff qualifications, quality control, MR safety policies and image quality.