Does Your Child Need an MRI? Here’s How You Might Prepare

MRI Houston, TXThere are numerous reasons why a physician may request additional insight into a part of the body in the form of specialized imaging like MRI. Magnetic resonance imaging provides us with highly accurate images of internal structures. It is especially useful for the observation of soft tissues, such as blood vessels, tendons, cartilage, and muscles.

It seems logical to assume MRI would be a form of imaging more common among adult patients. However, there are instances in which a child may require this imaging. Ultimately, the objective of patient care is to obtain necessary data so appropriate treatment may be formulated, and recovery can occur more quickly.

While numerous benefits come from magnetic resonance imaging, there is no denying that some patients may feel claustrophobic during their exam. According to one published study, what is at the heart of most patient’s anxieties related to any medical exam is the mystery of what is going to happen. With that in mind, experts suggest that children be told of exams and imaging in language that is very clear.

Speaking to children about an upcoming MRI may achieve better results when the machine and process can be portrayed regarding objects they are familiar with. This not only helps them understand better, but it also removes some of that mysteriousness that can cause fear. For example, when MRI technology is explained like using magnets like those that are plastered on the refrigerator or that are used in science experiments at school, children gain a sense of calm in the familiar.

In addition to using words to explain MRI to children, parents may also show pictures of what an MRI machine looks like. This enables them to show where magnets are located in the machine, further enabling their child to feel calm when she enters the tube.

Additional strategies to decrease stress include:

  • Provide your child time to mentally prepare for his MRI. Younger children can be told of their visit just before leaving home. Older children, around Junior High age, benefit from weeks of preparation, if possible.
  • Talk with your child’s doctor about sedation, which may help them remain still during their screening.
  • If sedation is not an option, children may be soothed by the presence of a comfort object, such as a beloved stuffed animal or action figure.
  • Children do better when prepared for the noisiness of the MRI machine. They need to know these noises are just the “magnets doing their job,” and that they are safe.

At GO Imaging, MRI scans can be performed with open and closed units. As much as possible, we try to accommodate children by using the open model.

For more information on pediatric MRI and other imaging, contact our Humble or Houston facility.

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