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Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)

The MRI scanner is a powerful magnet with a tunnel running through the middle, allowing a table to slide through. The magnet rotates around the patient and combines with radio waves and a computer to take pictures inside the body.

An MRI is a noninvasive procedure that allows the medical team to see what's going on inside your child's body without the use of X-rays. The images provided can help determine what, if any, treatment is required. And, if surgery should be required to treat your child's specific condition, an MRI can help to more accurately pinpoint the area of surgery. MRI scans show detailed pictures of the brain, spinal cord, muscles, tendons, bone marrow and blood vessels, tissue and more.

What to expect

The MRI machine is designed like a tunnel and, like a tunnel, is open at both ends. Your child will lie down on a table that slides into the tunnel. During the scan the tunnel remains still while the magnets inside the machine spin around to capture impages. The MRI makes a very loud sound due to the power of the magnets inside. Ear plugs or headphones for music will be provided to reduce the noise.

MRI safety is a top priority at Cook Children's.

Because the MRI uses a very powerful magnet, everyone entering the MRI scan suite must follow important guidelines and fill out an MRI safety questionnaire. MRI does not use radiation.

What to expect if your child needs an MRI

Sedation (anesthesia):

The scanner is very sensitive to movement, so it's important to remain still during the MRI. Sedation may be required for young children who are unable to remain still.

If your child is scheduled for anesthesia, a radiology nurse and a nurse practitioner from the department of anesthesiology will call you. These nurses will ask you questions about your child's medical information, give you special preparation instructions and answer any questions you might have. On the day of your child's procedure you'll meet with your anesthesiologist to talk about the anesthesia plan.

iMRI procedures

The MRI scanner used for iMRI procedures is similar to the MRI scanners used in the Radiology department.

Intraoperative magnetic resonance imaging (iMRI) is a procedure that allows neurosurgeons to see images during surgery with the use of MRI. Our iMRI suite is comprised of a surgical suite and an MRI scanner. During a surgical procedure the MRI scanner can be moved over a patient and an MRI procedure can be performed during surgery without moving the patient.

Similar safety guidelines apply and must be followed including filling out an MRI safety questionnaire.

We're here to help

Referring physicians: To schedule your patient (inpatient/outpatient), call 682-885-4076. You'll find referral forms on our appointments page.

Patients: For questions regarding your child's appointment, to reschedule or cancel, please call 682-885-4076. Schedulers are available 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Your doctor's office may have given you some directions to follow. If these directions are not followed correctly, your child's appointment may be delayed or rescheduled.

Preparing for your visit

If your child has been referred to us for a test and/or procedure, we will contact to you to schedule an appointment. At that time you will also be given any special instructions necessary to prepare for your visit, depending on what services your child will be receiving.