Your child's doctor has ordered a Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scan at Melbourne Radiology Clinic.
This information sheet is intended for parents or carers of children under the age of 16 who have been referred for a MRI scan .
A MRI scanner uses a powerful magnet and radiowaves to produce superbly detailed views of the human body, particularly soft tissues, such as the brain, spinal cord and muscles. Unlike many other imaging tests, MRI does not use radiation. Though some discomfort may occur from having to lay still, MRI is otherwise a painless procedure and typically takes approximately 20-30 minutes to perform.
You will also be asked to read and complete a MRI Consent Form & Safety Questionnaire.
Please read the following information carefully.
- No preparation is necessary for an MRI scan. Your child can eat and drink normally.
- As a strong magnet is used, all metallic devices MUST be removed before entering the MRI room. This includes clothes with metal zips and any toys that might have a metal component. Please consult the MRI Safety Questionnaire for further information.
- On arrival at Melbourne Radiology Clinic, you will be asked to complete the MRI Safety and Health Questionnaire before the scan so that our radiologist can thoroughly understand your child's overall health. This questionnaire is also available to be downloaded from our website and completed prior to your appointment.
- Patients with cardiac pacemakers and cochlear implants cannot undergo MRI scans. Other metallic implants may prohibit patients from having an MRI scan. This includes people with certain types cerebral aneurysm clips, vascular stents, infusion pumps and neurostimulators.
- The scan occurs in an enclosed space, so if your child is particularly claustrophobic or likely to feel quite anxious, please inform us in advance.
- Please note: Melbourne Radiology Clinic's MRI scanner is the latest Siemens Espree unit which has a wide bore or 'tunnel' that is 16% wider than conventional MRI units so patients may experience less anxiety when entering the enclosed space of the MRI scanner.
- Your child will be required to change into and wear the examination gown we will provide. They will then be asked to lie on a movable scanning table that moves into the bore of the MRI. The body part to be scanned will be positioned in the centre of the tunnel. A device, known as a coil, which improves the quality of the images, may be placed over the body region to be examined during the scan.
Additional Notes for Parents:
- Parents or carers may also accompany their child into the MRI scanning room and sit next to them for the duration of the scan. Please follow the instructions of our MRI technician. They will show you where to sit (or stand) during the scan. The accompanying adult will also be asked to complete a MRI Companion Form and Questionnaire.
- The most important role of a parent or guardian during the scan is to help your child stay calm and relaxed. It is particularly important that your child stays still during the MRI.
- Depending on the age of your child, you may want to bring along a "comfort" item—such as a favourite stuffed animal, toy or "blankie" — for your child to hold during the scan. Children can also bring their favourite DVD or music to listen to (on an iPod or similar digital music player).
- Women who are pregnant or believe they may be pregnant should not be in the exam room when MRI scans are done. In this case, please bring another adult who can stay with your child during the scan.
MRI Contrast Dye (Gadolinium)
Some patients undergoing an MRI scan may require an injection of an intravenous (IV) dye (contrast) known as Gadolinium, which is a paramagnetic substance that is visible on MRI scans. If contrast is required, this will be discussed with you by our MRI Technician and/or radiologist on the day of your appointment.
Once the scan is under way a vibrating or knocking sound can be heard. Noise cancelling head-phones are provided and your child can choose to listen to music or depending on the scan, watch live TV or a DVD of their choice.
It is very important that you encourage your child to keep their body extremely still during the scan. Movement during a scan may result in lower quality or 'blurred' images.
Encourage your child to lie very still and to stay relaxed during each scan.
Try suggesting the following:
"Pretend you are a statue or asleep..." or "Imagine you are a rag doll..."
Usually four or five different types of MRI scans, called sequences, are taken with each one lasting about 2–8 minutes. Overall, your child will be in the scanner for about 20-30 minutes. A sequence or sequences may need to be repeated if there is blurring of the images due to excessive movement.
You will be in constant communication with the technician who conducts the MRI. Their role is to ensure that your child is comfortable and that you are also kept you up-to-date with the progress of the scans.
As an additional safety mechanism, your child will be provided with a buzzer to hold during the scan. If at anytime your child feels exceedingly uncomfortable or anxious they can press the buzzer to gain the attention of the MRI technician. The scan at this point will be stopped and your child will be immediately removed from the bore of the scanner and attended to by yourself and our staff.
After your child's scan...
A radiologist, a medical doctor specialised in interpreting medical images for the purposes of providing a diagnosis, will then review the images and provide a formal written report. If medically urgent, or if you have an appointment immediately after the scan for your child to be seen by your doctor or health care provider, Melbourne Radiology Clinic will instantly have your results ready. Otherwise, the report will be received by your doctor or health care provider within the next 24 hours.
- Please ensure that you make a follow up appointment with your referring doctor or health care provider to discuss your child results.
- Please bring to the clinic any prior scans (eg. X-rays, ultrasounds, MRI, CT) and reports as these will assist the radiologist in assessing your child's condition.
- If you have any further queries please call Melbourne Radiology Clinic on (03) 9667 1667
– we are only too happy to help.
- Please note that any referral for a scan is valid at Melbourne Radiology Clinic, even if it has been written on a referral form from another radiology provider.
Whilst every effort is made to keep your appointment time, the special needs of complex cases, elderly and frail patients can cause unexpected delays. Your consideration and patience in these circumstances is appreciated.
Patients will also need to read and complete:
Melbourne Radiology Clinic - MRI Consent Form and Safety Questionnaire