How Can I Help Prepare My Child for an MRI?

How Can I Help Prepare My Child for an MRI?

One of the big advantages of a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanner is that it’s radiation-free. It’s safe for patients of any age. Even pregnant mothers can have MRI scans without worry about their fetus. 

However, the MRI scanner and the room it’s in can create an intimidating environment the first time a child has a scan. The machine is large and noisy, and they’ll be tasked with holding still. It’s a setting that probably has many children worried that something is going to hurt. 

The good news is that an MRI doesn’t hurt. The challenge for your child may simply be restricting their own movements long enough for a clear image. 

At 360 Orthopedics, we regularly rely on diagnostic imaging to help our patients, and therefore we conduct MRI and X-ray imaging in our offices. Unless your child is naturally inquisitive, and perhaps a bit of a daredevil, it usually helps to prepare them before their scan. Here are some thoughts to consider that you might find helpful. 

Two types of response

Every child’s response to having an MRI is uniquely their own. There’s usually a mix of curiosity, fear, interest, and nervousness. Regardless of that mixture, your child will likely be one of two types: those who want to know more about the test or those who want to know nothing. 

It’s usually best to let this tendency play out. Regardless of what other emotions your child displays, when they ask questions and express an interest in knowing what an MRI involves, try to indulge them to the best of your ability. The more they know about the process, the more their minds will work on comparing that knowledge to the experience, rather than worrying about the unknown. 

When your child doesn’t want to hear details, stick with the basics. They might be presenting that they will use knowledge to fuel their fears rather than to reason around them. They’re ready to deal with it when it happens, or hoping it will go away. Either way, overpreparing them may work against you. 

Two key points

So what are the MRI basics? The first is that it’s not going to hurt. The scanner is big and it makes plenty of noise, but it’s a docile beast. Your child just needs to lie there as the table and the scanner do the work. 

The second key point is that keeping still is important for one very good reason: to get a good picture. Portraying the MRI as a bit of a slow camera is okay. It won’t hurt the MRI’s feelings, and it might even make your child want to help this noisy and not-very-bright machine out by lying very still. There will come a time when they’re ready to know the incredible science behind the machine. 

If you can impart those two messages before your child’s appointment, then they’ll be ready for our imaging specialists to take it from there. You’ll receive specific information from your caregivers, since the MRI process changes based on your child’s needs. Call the nearest office for more information or to set up an appointment today. 

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