In the Department of Radiology and Medical Imaging at Cincinnati Children’s, an MRI is a way to take pictures of the body using a large magnet, radio waves and a computer. The MRI does not use radiation, and no side effects have been reported from being in the magnetic field. 

The MRI scanner is a large magnet with a circle-shaped opening.  Some people say it looks like a tunnel.  There is a table that moves into the opening of the scanner during the test, and the patient may hear a series of very loud noises such as hums, knocks, beeps and clicks.  These are normal sounds of the scanner.  The technologist will be able to talk with your child and explain when the noises will occur and how long the sounds will last. Parents are welcome in the scan room if the child is awake. The scanner does not touch or hurt the patient; however, if an IV is required for contrast, minimal pain may occur during IV insertion. Contrast is a dye given to enhance the pictures.

MRI appointments must be scheduled. Call 513-636-3200.

What to expect during your MRI

The exams may take 60-120 minutes depending on the body part being scanned.  Your child must hold still for each series of pictures (each series is three to eight minutes). Your child may be able to wiggle slightly between pictures.  If your child cannot hold still, it may be necessary to schedule the appointment with anesthesia or sedation. 

Patients scheduled to be awake for the procedure may bring a DVD or a music CD to watch or listen to during the MRI procedure.  We also have a large selection of DVDs from which your child can choose.

For your child’s safety and to ensure the quality of your child’s MRI exam, the patient will be asked to change into a hospital garment. Lockers will be available to lock up and secure your personal items.

Before you arrive

If the patient is scheduled with anesthesia or sedation, an anesthesia imaging nurse will contact you with preparation instructions, which must be followed carefully.

If the patient is not scheduled to have the MRI with sedation or anesthesia, instructions will be given when the exam is scheduled.  For some exams, it is important not to eat anything four hours or drink anything two hours before the appointment. 

When you arrive

Radiology staff will ask you to fill out forms asking about allergies, medications, possibility of pregnancy, surgeries and implanted metal objects.

After the scan (unless your child’s physician instructs otherwise)

If your child does not receive sedation or anesthesia, he should be able to resume normal activities immediately.

If your child receives anesthesia or sedation, you will be given discharge instructions.

The results of the MRI are sent to the ordering doctor. Your child’s physician will discuss the findings with you.


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