MRIs for Children 

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a noninvasive, meaning the skin will not be cut or entered, procedure to get a detailed look at your child’s organs, soft tissues, bone and/or virtually all other internal body structures. Your child’s provider may order an MRI to help diagnose for a variety of conditions within the brain, chest, stomach, pelvis and extremities (arms and legs). Unlike X-rays and CT scans, MRIs use a magnetic field and radio waves rather than radiation.  

MRIs are safe and painless, but they can still be scary to a child. The specialists at Randall Children’s work with children on a regular basis so provide expert care while reducing fear. You’ll have peace of mind knowing our pediatric radiologists and the Randall Care team provide the best possible experience for your child while using state-of-the-art software for enhanced images. MRIs help our specialists make thorough, timely diagnosis and, if necessary, a treatment plan for your child.  

What Can You Expect? 

Be sure to follow all instructions you receive prior to your appointment. Braces, and fillings won’t interfere with the scan, but you should make the radiologist aware of them. In some cases, patients may need to have their braces removed prior to having their MRI and will be rescheduled for a later day.  

Tell the technologist if your child has any implanted medical or electronic device, including cochlear ear implants. Your child’s safety is our priority and we take all precautions to ensure their safety.  

Because other metals will interfere with the scan, they should be left at home or removed prior to the scan.  Types of metals not allowed in the exam room include: 

  • jewelry, watches, body piercings 
  • pins, hairpins, metal zippers eyelets, hooks, buttons and similar metallic items  
  • eyeglasses and hearing aids 
  • cell phones, credit cards  
  • pens, pocket knives and all magnetic objects 

If your child requires an MRI with contrast, they’ll be given an injection of a color agent, and the contrast helps the provider see better. The contrast helps us to see blood filled organs helping us determine what is wrong and determine treatment.  Contrast can make the child feel warm or flushed and make give them the urge to urinate (pee). These are normal and expected. We will ask questions about allergies to make sure it is safe for your child. Contrast is delivered using an IV for MRI and is given through a urinary catheter for VCUG. As with all tests, you’ll be asked about any allergies to iodine, drugs, foods, or if your child has asthma.  

Our expert team will strive to make you and your children comfortable. You can be assured that we have your child’s physical, emotional and mental well-being in mind and will take great care to make the MRI a stress-free experience. 

How to Prepare Your Child 

Assure your child that an MRI is safe and painless, and that the machine will allow specialists to get an up-close picture of inside their body. Your child will be asked to lie on a table and remain very still. The table will slide into a tunnel where images will be taken. The tunnel and the machine noises (hums, clicks, beeps and knocks) can sometimes make children feel uncomfortable or fidgety. If your child is very nervous before the procedure, the care team may provide a sedative. Let your child know that the sedative won’t hurt them; it will just help them to relax. Average time for a MRI without sedation is 30 minutes per area image.  

All our imaging technologists are trained in “image gentle”, which reduces children to exposure through lower dose imaging. And you will be close by for support. 

What Happens Next? 

The images are reviewed, and reports are sent to the ordering provider for review within 24 hours. It may take up to a week to be shared with you by your provider.  

Scheduling Imaging

Imaging has one centralized number and you can select the site convenient for you or based on the support services needed for your child.  

Oregon: 503-413-7800 
Washington: 360-487-1800

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