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MRI Scan appt

12 replies

jenk1 · 19/05/2006 10:09

Got a letter today for DD,s MRI scan appt, its on 05jun.

Know absololutely nothing about this procedure so wondered if anyone could enlighten me.

Thanks Smile

OP posts:
r3dh3d · 19/05/2006 11:42

Okeydokey, Helena has had 2.

I expect you've seen an MRI scanner on the news or something. They vary slightly by brand and whether you are private or NHS but basically it is a short tunnel (usually 3 or 4 foot long) which doesn't have a lot of room in it. I had one when 34 weeks pregnant and only just had clearance. It can get quite hot in there (though they are ventilated) and very loud. The noise is the electromagnets which generate the fields they need to take the picture banging around as they go on and off, quite rapidly. They're big heavy metal things so you can imagine. Generally speaking they give you headphones, so it's not deafening. It's more like having roadworks outside your window but with double glazing.

If it's a child who won't keep still, they usually give a general anaesthetic. It's weaker than the sort they give for surgery and pretty low risk. Dependant on age and hospital preference it may be an injection or (more likely) gas through a mask.

If you're having the anaesthetic, they will say no eating or drinking from midnight the night before or similar. Rules vary. This is because the anaesthetic makes you a bit nauseaous (sp?) and there is a small risk you may barf and inhale. Unlikely but obviously more of a worry if your head is inside a tunnel where no-one can see you.

You need to dress in clothes with absolutely no metal parts at all, or they will undress you and put you in a hospital gown. No metal zips or eyelets etc. It sometimes takes a bit of thought to work out what to wear on the day!

You turn up about 1/2 hour early and fill in forms. They are one-size-fits-all so you have to confirm that eg your child is not pregnant or breastfeeding. (I had to write in that I was pg although I was the size of a house!) Obviously they also want to know about implants etc. which may make it impossible to do the procedure.

If you're not having anaesthetic, they help you up onto the bench thing, put your headphones on and slide you in to the tunnel. You have to stay still for about 20 mins. Absolutely still if the pics are going to work.

If you're having the anaesthetic, we got to meet the anaesthetist first and discuss with her. Then they took us through to an anteroom and put her under. DH sat her on his knee and I held her hand as they put the mask on. It's the hardest part of the whole thing because seeing your child pass out is surprisingly emotional. I've held DD1 through bouncing-across-the-floor seizures and she's had days where I don't think she recognised my face and still I cried both times they put her under GA. I don't know why!

They didn't let us go in with her and shooed us off pretty quickly. When you are gone they put a tube down the throat (to keep the airway clear in case of vomiting) and sellotape the eyelids shut. (If the eyes open while anaesthetised, you don't blink so your eyeballs dry out and are quite uncomfortable!)

They send you away for about 1/2 hour. Go to the cafe and get a cuppa to pass the time.

We then went back and waited and they called us into the "recovery" room where DD1 was coming round. She screamed and screamed the second time, and we were quite worried - till we realised she was STARVING hungry. Take something to eat and drink with you because often they don't let you home till they have eaten and drunk and kept it down, about an hour after coming out. I think the queasy feeling can sneak up on you afterwards and you don't want a barfing child in a car seat.

As usual with scans, the technicians can't tell you anything, and you are waiting for a consultant to read the pix and tell you what it all means. So time for results dependant on that - but about 10 days is reasonable.


jenk1 · 19/05/2006 11:50

thanks a lot thar really does help.

DD,s appointment is at 2.45pm that will be really really hard to starve her all that time think ill ask for a morning one instead.

OP posts:
mum2seb · 19/05/2006 11:55

Well, I can tell you of our experience - Ds had his just before his 1st birthday last year, and we were told that he could have breakfast before 8am, and a drink before 11am, and then no food or drink until after the MRI. This is because he was going to be given a general anaesthetic. It's a long procedure (or his was), and they need to lie still. My husband went in with him until they knocked him out, and once he was under, they put a canula in the back of his hand, in case they needed to give him any drugs etc (which they didn't need to in the end.). It was all very calm, and as usual the staff at Alder Hey were fab. We were put back on the ward afterwards until he came round, where they checked his blood pressure regularly (no problems). Once he woke up (which was quite amusing, actually, because it was like he was drunk!), they told me he could leave once he'd eaten something, and kept it down. Which he did - he ate LOADS, and kept it down! Well, it was about 4pm by this time, and he hadn't eaten since breakfast! We had a very positive experience (except for the usual delays due to emergencies needing to use the scanner before us!), and as ds will probably need a few more of these as he grows, it's probably a good job! Ds has Spina Bifida, by the way, and they have to check him for things like Hydrocephalus, spinal cord tethering, growths on his spine and kidney "stuff"! That's why his scan took over an hour, but some children were in and out a lot faster. The thing to remember, is that the MRI scanner isn't very fast, anyway. Hth.

dizzy34 · 19/05/2006 22:51


Harry has had four now and three CT scans and frustratingly they are all normal. He has recently had another at Alderhey in the new scanner and still it showed nothing (which i cant understand cos of the severity of his dissabilitys-sorry digressing here).
We had to be on the ward for 11.30 and Harry went down at 1pm. It took about 40 mins and he was back on the ward. We dont get out very quickly because Harry cant eat/drink and aspirates with his pump feed, but i saw other kids go home after about 1.5 hours.

SparklyGothKat · 19/05/2006 23:26

DS has had 2, DD1 has had 2 and Dd2 has had 1, my children were all sedated rather than GA.
We were taken to a quiet room, where they were given the meds. They start to drift off into a sleep and are then taken to the MRI machine. I was able to stay in the room with them. Its very noisy and you have to wear headphones. Dd2 was only 2 weeks old when she had her MRI and was in SCBU and I was scared that she would stop breathing while having the scan. As soon as the scan is finished we were taken out to the waiting room, while we waited for them to wake up, they woke up very fast and we were allowed to go home soon after.

Lakette · 20/05/2006 17:33

Just coming in late to this thread but my dd has had an MRI scan about 3 weeks ago (she is 7 months) and although was massively worried as she had to go under GA it was actually pretty stress free until she woke up and realised that she was VERY hungry!!!

We are still waiting for detail of her results but have been told it was 'essentially normal' - I again believe there is something amiss so what exactly does an MRI show up?? Would it show something like CP?

reiver · 20/05/2006 19:57

Can't add much jenk that hasn't already been said .....but I remember DD didn't take too kindly to being starved beforehand. It was hard work keeping her going until our scan time as there was a delay so I actually asked to leave the ward and took her off for a walk in the park to keep her occupied.
The anaesthetic was very straightforward but I totally agree about feeling very emotional at this point so prepare yourself.
DD came round fine but then slept for ages which was disconcerting as others around bounced back and were demanding feeding. However I was told that's just how some react and once awake was on good form. Hope all goes well - we'll be thinking of you.

SparklyGothKat · 20/05/2006 22:41

Lakette 2 of my children have cerebral palsy and their dx was done with the MRI. The MRI will show damage to the venticles or white matter that is damaged. Its a very ggod way for doctors to dx CP

Blu · 21/05/2006 11:52

DS (4) recently had an MRI scan, under a sedative, rather than GS - it completely sent him to sleep, but I don't think he had to starve for as long as for a GA - he couldn't have breakfast, but could have a drink. They gave him the sedative orally with a normal medecine syringe.

All v straightforward.

geogteach · 21/05/2006 13:05

Definately make sure they are going to sedate / GA, DS 5 had one 2 weeks ago with neither it was very stressful and may need to be repeated as he wasn't still enough. Don't know why they didn't sedate him

rubadubdub · 21/05/2006 13:47

hi just like to say, my dh has had lots and lots of MRI and CT scans dh has hydrocephalus and shunt, every time dh is ill or fits we have to scan which can be once a month, they dont like to give seditive because it can slow down breathing, if it can be donewithout its much better, try getting the child to sleep, but MRI is extremly loud, CT is fine, we have to keep checking to see if shunt in the brain is blocked, dh is also suseptable to menengitus and had it 2 years ago. its can be a nightmare but u get use to it.very very scary sometimes.

geogteach · 21/05/2006 15:39

Forgot to say when I started a thread on this before somebody did a link to an animation explaining CT and MRI to kids which DS loved I think it was on the great ormond street web site.

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