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MRI for 9 Year Old - What to Expect

(22 Posts)
busyhouseof8 Thu 26-May-11 17:11:51


Any advice out there about how to prepare my DS for an MRI? I really don't understand what will happen apart from him having to go into a tube and stay still for a long time.

He has a constant backache and the Consultant wants a more detailed look at what's going on.

Many thanks

SparkleRainbow Thu 26-May-11 17:15:47

I will be interested to see what responses you get, my 8 year old ds is waiting for a flexion extension mri!

The tube will be painted cream, often with mirrors on the ceiling so they can see out of it past their feet. He will have to wear ear defenders because it is very noisy with banging sounds, you can take a cd for him to listen to which is piped through the headphones. You should be able to accompanyy him into the scanning room and stay by his legs/feet. A full spinal scan might take up to 45 mins, that is all I know, sorry.

busyhouseof8 Thu 26-May-11 17:50:08

Oops - should I be on the children's health forum? - not sure how to move

busyhouseof8 Thu 26-May-11 19:19:57

Sparkle - I trawled the net and found this for parents about getting a lumbar MRI:

and also a video for kids:

It's American, but I believe the principal should be the same here.

SparkleRainbow Thu 26-May-11 21:05:47

I will look at those, thank you smile

smee Fri 27-May-11 10:31:45

Waving to Sparkle smile I have no experience other than being in the queue for the scanner behind a child. She was quite upset - not by anything they'd done, just because she was overwhelmed, so they sedated her and she slept through it. She was coming round as I went in and all smiles.

RoadArt Fri 27-May-11 11:16:35

The biggest thing I remember is the noises they make. No one prepared me for this. If children know about these noises you can tell them to think of songs, rhythms, associations patterns etc. They are loud and they keep changing sounds.

I expect though that your child will be sedated because it is essential they keep still at all times

SparkleRainbow Fri 27-May-11 12:37:34

waves to smee smile

My pct says children from 7 they try not to give GA to, and sedation doesn't work, but as smee and I know well, every pct is different, it is a good question to ask. Ring up the mri department and ask them directly, they were incredibly helpful when I did this.

My ds has to be awake for his mri, GA for him means a full surgical team and a vbery very long waiting list. I am going to get them to play Queen very loudly through his ear defenders.

smee Fri 27-May-11 12:50:48

Offer huge treats for lying still?! I do like a bit of bribery.. smile

busyhouseof8 Fri 27-May-11 13:06:35

Thanks Sparkle - followed your lead and called the MRI team.

Here they apparently start on the basis that they won't sedate. Only if that doesn't work will refer ds to the Paediatric team to arrange sedation BUT they only do sedated MRIs once a month, so it would mean yet another 6-8 week delay (it's already going to take 6 weeks to get the first appointment).

Have to hope that his favourite Coldplay through the headphones will keep him still.

SparkleRainbow Fri 27-May-11 13:24:20

You and me both.....ds can't keep still at the best of times!

doodledee Fri 27-May-11 16:10:16

Well i had a head and neck MRI and to be honest it was pretty awful - very claustrophobic and so loud! Lots of banging noises at different intervals very clear even through headphones and it seemed to last an eternity - in reality 20-30 mins, can't remember exactly. I wouldn't expect a back MRI to be as claustrophobic but you should be given some info about what your son should expect to prepare him otherwise could be scary

apprenticemum Fri 27-May-11 17:14:07

Although I had a head & neck and will agree with doodle, I was told that if they are not looking at the head, they can give earphones to play a favorite CD on to mask the noise so get him to take a favorite with him. The noise is pretty awful otherwise. I'm not claustraphobic but have to say, I only just made it. They will also give him a panic button to press if it all gets too much. Give him some visualisation tips in advance. Good luck

busyhouseof8 Fri 27-May-11 18:18:05

Oh God - now I'm really scared for him!

Why oh why did I not include the kids on my BUPA when I set it up years ago. In my naivety I thought that for children the NHS would move quickly.

I feel that if I had then ds could have

a) got this done without weeks and weeks of delay (took 3 months just to get the appointment wth the Consultant and now at least another 6 weeks for MRI and then another 6 weeks if he does need sedation) and

b) had the sedation to make it all less frightening.

Stupid thing is ds is actually seeing the same consultant who operated on my shoulder under BUPA. 15 years of chronic pain sorted within a couple of weeks of phoning to make an appointment. I know I was lucky to be able to be in that position.

So I feel scared and guilty that ds can't now have my advantages.

SparkleRainbow Fri 27-May-11 18:39:04

Well stop feeling guilty!Have you stopped yet, I tried tough talking wink I know you are going to feel bad, but seriously try not to, in reality BUPA might have suggested no sedation to start with, and Great Ormond Street hospital recommend trying GA not sedation, and only doing GA if can't otherwise.

The people doing the scanning will be experienceed and good. I have had two mris, one of my enitre spine, one of my head. I do have claust. but I got through it fine. I kept my eyes shut, and listened to the music. That is what I am going to do for my ds. I am going to see whether I can hold his hand, if not I will hold his leg, so he will feel me there, and tell him to keep his eyes closed. I am also planning to warn him that it makes loud banging sounds, which chnage their rhythms, so he is not too startled.

Don't be scared, you know there is nothing to be scared of, convince yourself and you know you will do a good job of convincing him.

MrsWalton Fri 27-May-11 19:14:46

I went for my first MRI a couple of weeks ago, i wasn't at all concerned until a very young and fussy nurse managed to wind me up.

It is not too claustrophobic, those old laydown sunbeds were more enclosed. It is however very loud. Some banging and clunking was what i expected, but i wasn't prepared for the hardcore techno rave sounds!!! The headphones i had were rubbish.

Some of them sound like alarms going off, and if your unprepared for them it is a bit scary thinking there is something wrong with the machine. Had i been forwarned that they sounded like foghorn/alarm then the whole experience would have been fine. So if i were you i would run that past the mri dept and get them to describe the sounds properly.

Also,this may be a daft idea but you might want to use the whole experience as a bit of a science project. I googled MRI after i had mine, and i would think a nine year old boy could be quite into the idea of the magnetic side of things. You would have to read up yourself first and decide.

MrsWalton Fri 27-May-11 19:19:59

Oh just to add, i also had a panic button and mine was for the middle part of my back and took about 15mins.

If he is well prepared there really is nothing to worry about.

May i also suggest that you start a thread asking people to describe what it sounds like getting an MRI. I'm sure you'll get some good feedback and you could show him.

piratecat Fri 27-May-11 19:21:53

dd had to have one last yr when she was 8.

she was very brave, had to keep still even tho she was also feeling sick, it was worse becuase of that.

tbh i had to be firm with her. i sat be the head end, and just reassured her, but told her she had to keep still, right thru. it was very noisy yes. the nurses will speak to him and explain, and tell him to keep still aswell.

one thing to tell him is that it won't hurt, it will just be noisy.

Popbiscuit Fri 27-May-11 19:26:26

What Roadart and Mrs. Walton said. It is very, very noisy and the sounds change constantly so you think something is going wrong...Not sure why there was no warning about this beforehand?
Best of Luck.

MrsWalton Fri 27-May-11 20:01:33

Don't terrify him telling him he HAS to keep still.

Explain that its a photograph, what happens when the subject moves - blurry photo. Show him some stuff about the first photos, people had to pose still for ages while they exposed the picture.

Also,it is important that you are relaxed about it.

eandemum Fri 27-May-11 22:33:29

There will be air pumpedthrough it and he will have to hold a panic button (call it a communication button!?)
Yes - headphones - there will still be noises like a pnematic drill.
When I had mine I had seen them on TV (American) and there was enough space to sit up in, so I was suprised when I opened my eyes in it and the 'roof' was just above my nose!
Aree with OP to use this as a science lesson!!
Where I had mine the nurses were really good and the hospital had said if you are v claustophobic to go to yr GP before for a sedative (not sure if same for a child)
Good Luck - probably worse for you!!

HazeltheMcWitch Sun 29-May-11 00:46:30

Hello, I also have had a fair few, although I am not an 8-yr old boy. Yes, as everyone has mentioned, there are 2 issues - the size, and the noise.

Re the noise, he might be offered headphones, (as some said up-thread), and he might get music to listen to. Possible also that he will hear the radiographer's voice through the headphones. Either way, the noise of the machine won't be masked - it is just bloody loud. When I had my 1st, the thing that occurred to me was it sounded like I was inside a computer game. Not sure if that analogy would appeal to him or not? You can literally hear the magnet in the machine whizzing round you, banging and clunking.

Agree that making it interesting might be the way to go? Best of luck.

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