MRI Scans for Babies and Children

Children’s Services
Colchester Hospital
Tel: 01206 746208 or 746209

What is an MRI scan?

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is an imaging technique using a magnetic field and radio waves to obtain detailed pictures of a part of the body.

More Information

Your doctor has requested your child has an MRI scan to help diagnose your child’s condition and plan treatment.

It is a painless test. Due to the magnetic field, however, ensuring safety is very important.

You will be sent two safety questionnaires to complete, one for your child and one for the chaperone – the person who is going to accompany the child into the scanner. Please bring these completed forms on the day of the scan. If the answer is yes to any of the questions, you may phone the MRI Department on 01206 744222 for advice before coming for the scan.

Please ensure the child and chaperone are wearing metal-free clothes and have removed all metal jewellery.

Occasionally, a blood test may be done to check your child’s kidney function. If your child needs this test you will be asked to attend three hours before the scan time.

You will be asked to the attend the Children’s Elective Care Unit so that your child can be prepared for the scan. The appointment letter will give you details on times.

A play specialist or nurse will explain what will happen during the procedure and help prepare your child using pictures and play before you meet the radiographers in the MRI Department.

One parent is welcome to stay with their child during the scan. A play specialist or nurse will accompany you to the department.

During the scan your child will need to lie on a table that will slide into the scanner.

Your child will need to keep very still for the duration of the scan or the pictures may be blurred and difficult to interpret.

The scanner is very noisy so your child will wear ear protectors. The scan usually lasts 15-20 minutes but this can vary and you will be told before going in. Your child will be able to go home straight after the scan.

The radiographer may need to give an injection of contrast medium to enhance the pictures.

If this is the case a small tube called a cannula will be inserted into a vein by a doctor or nurse before your child goes to the MRI Department. Anaesthetic cream or spray will be used to make this as painless as possible.

A play specialist will support you and your child through this procedure. The cannula will be removed as soon as the scan is finished. If an injection is needed, you and your child will be asked to attend 1-3 hours before the scan time.

Your child can eat and drink normally after the scan.

A radiologist will review the scan results the same day and within a few days a report will be sent to your consultant who will discuss the results with you at your child’s next outpatient appointment or sooner if necessary.

If you have any further concerns or queries please do not hesitate to contact us:

Children’s Elective Care Unit Tel: 01206 744237 or 742029 Children’s Ward Tel: 01206 746208 or 746209 Children’s Outpatient Unit Tel: 01206 746177

As part of your child’s treatment, a photographic record may be made, such as X-ray(s), clinical photographs or digital images, which will be kept confidentially in their health records and seen only by people involved in their care or quality checking. They are also extremely important for teaching or medical research so we may ask for your written consent to use your child’s images, in which case his or her personal details will be removed so they cannot be identified.

When your child attends hospital you will be asked for his or her NHS number and other information, such as your address.
Please be patient with this procedure as it is to ensure our records are kept up to date and to protect your child’s safety. If you do not know his or her NHS number, please don’t worry, he or she will still receive care.

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