Getting an MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) Scan – What to Expect

Welcome to Arkansas Children’s Hospital. My name is Eva and I’m here to talk to you about having an MRI. Do you know what MRI
stands for? It means Magnetic Resonance Imaging basically, it’s a big camera that
uses a magnet to take pictures of the inside of your body. Sometimes your doctor may call the MRI a scan of your body. The MRI camera never touches you, but it does make a lot of noise as it takes your pictures. Today, I’m having an MRI and I wanted to bring you along to show how all this happens. First, you will check in at the radiology waiting room on the first floor of the hospital. There are touch screens that will help you
check in. You’ll use this screen to let the Radiology staff know that you are here. One of the people at the desk will call your name and give you a bracelet or stickers with your name on it. It’s important you have this with you at all times. This is how the Radiology staff will know who you are. When it is time for your scan, you will be called to the MRI area you may have your height and
weight taken and will change into hospital pajamas. You may meet different people during your visit in the MRI. There are nurses, MRI technologists – that’s the person who will take your pictures during the MRI scan, and sometimes even a Child Life Specialist. The Child Life Specialist can
help explain the MRI machine and let you hear the sounds the camera makes during
the scan. Depending on the type of scan you are having today you may be able to
watch a movie or listen to music during your scan. You could even bring your own
music or DVD from home to watch. The Radiology team members will ask you
questions about any surgeries you had in the past and if you have any metal in or
on your body, this includes dental metal. The adult caregivers can also answer
questions about their own surgeries or metal in their body to see if they can
go into the MRI scanner with you Sometimes the doctor will order contrast
or dye for the MRI scan. This is something that will make your picture shine or glow. The doctor wants to light up those areas in the picture. If
you have to have contrast for your MRI scan you will have an IV placed once at
the hospital. Do you know what an IV is? An IV is a small plastic straw that a
nurse or MRI technologist will place in your hand or arm. A small needle is used
to put the plastic straw on your vein. The Child Life Specialist may also talk
with you about having the IV placed and help distract you when it happens. There
are many ways to help you get the IV placed. Cold spray – which numbs the skin,
Buzzy – which vibrates and tricks your brain to fill the vibration and not the poke as much and distraction from your caregivers or the Child Life Specialist If you need an IV the radiology staff will help you, so it will be as quick and
easy as possible. Your caregivers will not be able to take any metal objects into the MRI scanner. No cell phone, keys, wallets, debit cards, or watches. They will be able to lock these items in a locker until after the scan. If you are able to watch a movie or listen to music, the technologist will help you with this too. If your caregiver is going into the scan room with you they will get earplugs to
help block out some of the sounds that MRI camera makes. The camera makes a lot
of noise during the scan, sometimes it sounds really cool like a spaceship or
even like someone is knocking on the door or hammering a nail. When the MRI scan is ready to start you
will feel the bed move into the camera. The person taking pictures can also talk
to you and you can talk to them. You will have a special button that will help the person taking your pictures hear you talk to them if you need something. It’s
even fun to relax, listen to music or watch the movie and sometimes I even
take a nap while I’m having an MRI. Your biggest job during the MRI is to be
really still. Remember, it’s a camera and it’s taking your picture, if you move the
picture will be blurry. Have you ever pretended to be a statue? If you can pretend to be as still as a statue the pictures will be awesome. Once the
pictures are taken and the scan is over the technologist will tell you that they
are coming in to help you off of the table. You should get your results in a
few days. Your caregivers will also need to contact the doctor who ordered the
MRI scan to get the results. So that’s it! Be sure to ask your Radiology team if
you have any questions.

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