During Your Child's Visit

During the Test:

  • All patients are changed into hospital gowns to avoid MRI-incompatible clothing and accessories. The presence of metallic materials in the MRI scanner can be unsafe and will significantly impair the quality of the images and limit their usefulness. Therefore, to increase the safe use of the MRI technology and to reduce the chance of MRI artifact, we ask that all body piercings, jewelry (including imbedded jewelry), makeup, nail polish, hair accessories (including elastics and hair beads), hair products (such as gel or spray), hair extensions, body glitter, and dental or other metallic hardware be avoided or removed when possible. Embedded or implanted metals that cannot be easily removed — including braces, tattoos, pacemakers, heart valves, vascular stents, and orthopedic hardware — also may potentially lead to MRI artifact and safety issues, and these are typically evaluated for MRI-compatibility on a case-by-case basis by our technologists who are able to assess and research the material in question.
  • Dental hardware including palate expanders, braces, metal springs, and Habit devices are particularly problematic. While many materials are MRI safe, others are not, and it is often difficult to determine this without careful inspection, technologist research and clearance, or evaluation with a hand magnet. Even some MRI-compatible hardware can cause artifact that would completely degrade the images. In some cases, the dental hardware will need to be removed by the patient’s dentist or orthodontist prior to the scan and replaced following the exam. If there is any questionable material, we recommend contacting our technologists prior to the exam.
  • A family member is sometimes allowed in the MRI exam room after careful screening by MRI technologists and at the discretion of both the technologists and practitioner responsible for the sedation of the patient. Items not allowed in the room include jewelry, watches, credit cards, cell phones, pagers, and pacemakers. Some clothing with metal cannot be allowed in the room, and parents should avoid this.
  • Although an MRI does not use radiation, we generally avoid scanning pregnant patients unless necessary and pregnant family members will not be allowed in the MRI exam room.
  • During the exam, patient (and family member) belongings may be stored in a locker available in our department or taken by family members outside the exam room. For more prolonged sedation MRIs, families may leave the department and will be called back with updates or alerted at the end of the exam.
  • An MRI scan is fairly loud, and both the patient and any family member in the room will be given ear protection.
  • Although the MRI technologist is not in the room with the patient during the exam, they are watching the patient from the control room through a large window and video monitoring and available by two-way intercom.
  • If a patient is sedated, their vitals are monitored throughout the exam by a nurse or other health professional under the supervision of a physician, depending on the type of sedation the patient received.