MRI scan using general anaesthetic or sedation
What is MRI?
A magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is an advancedimaging method that uses a strong magnetic field, radio waves and a computer to produce pictures of the body. MRI does not use x-rays. MRI pictures are very detailed. They can show both bones and softtissues in the body. Your child will need to lie very still for the procedure. To assist with this process your child may need to have sedation medicine (to make them sleepy) or a general anaesthetic. The scan usually takes 30 to 60 minutes.
What is MRI contrast?
Depending on the area being scanned MRI contrast may be given. MRI contrast is a colourless liquid that is injected into the blood stream. MRI contrast is not a dye. It does not stain the inside of the body. It is used during MRI medical imaging procedures to alloworgans to be seen more clearly. The doctor needs to use MRI contrast to be able to get all the information needed to assist with the diagnosis.
No one is permitted into the scanning room until they have answered a series of safety questions and removed all metal objects from their body. It is vital that you answer the safety questions as accurately as possible. You should discuss any internal implants (of any kind) that you/your child may have with MRI staff to clarify any possible risks.
As your child is having sedation or general anaesthetic for their MRI scan, they will need to fast (go without food or drink) before the procedure. This is to improve the safety and decrease the risk of the anaesthetic. Please see the separate fasting instruction for details.
MRI scan using: general anaesthetic
If your child is having their scan under general anaesthetic one parent may usually stay with them until they are asleep (at your anaesthetists discretion). A drip may be inserted during the procedure.
After the scan
When the MRI is finished and your child is awake they will be offered some food and drink. Breast or bottle fed babies can be fed as soon as they are awake. After approximately one hour and once your child has had food and drink and is alert they will be discharged intoyour care.
Quiet inside play is recommended for the rest of the day. They can return to normal activity the following day. Feeling nauseous and vomiting is a possible after effect of general anaesthetic, but if this persists you should seek medical attention.
If you have any concerns regarding your child’s recovery from the anaesthetic or the sedation, please contact your GP or your doctor.
MRI scan using: sedation
If your child is having sedation for their MRI your anaesthetic doctor usually orders a medicine called chloral hydrate. Chloral hydrate is a bitter tasting medicine that is taken by mouth. It is important that the whole dose is taken and nurses will assist you with this. It will then take between 10 to 30 minutes for your child to become drowsy. Some children get upset before going off to sleep.
Once your child is asleep a monitor will be attached to your child. Your child will then be escorted to the MRI room. If your child is asleep you will be asked to wait outside while the scan takes place. Sedation has the potential to fail in approximately one in five cases.
After the scan
When the MRI is finished and your child is awake they will be offered some food and drink. Breast or bottle fed babies can be fed as soon as they are awake. Once your child has had food and drink and is alert they will be discharged into your care.
Chloral hydrate can have effects on your child for between four to eight hours and they should be watched during this time. Quiet inside play is recommended for the rest of the day. They can return to normal activity the following day.
To get the results of the scan you will need to have a follow up appointment with the doctor who requested the scan. If you are unsure about this appointment please let your nurse know.
To ensure your child receives the best possible care in an emergency, you should call 000 or go to your closest hospital that treats children.
If you have any concerns or questions please contact your doctor.
Contact Mater Children’s Private Brisbane
South Brisbane QLD 4101
Telephone: 07 3163 8111
Mater acknowledges consumer consultation in the development of this patient information.
Mater Doc Num: HOSP-008-06199-28
Last modified 17/11/2015.