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Old 05-01-2011, 08:22 AM   #1
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MRI for DD

Good Morning,

I was looking for someone who might tell me what to expect. My DD4 needs a Brain MRI as part of a neurological workup. I'm don't know what to expect or how to explain it to her. Has anyone had any experience with this or any tips for me? Thank you so much.
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Old 05-01-2011, 09:11 AM   #2
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I had a brain MRI last year. I don't know if it's the same for children and adults. I am claustrophobic, so they had me on Xanax while I had it done. Basically I just laid on a table that moved and they put this plastic 'cage' type thing around your head (I'm guessing so you don't move it?) and slide you into the machine. I kept my eyes closed the whole time, it took about 15 minutes I'd say. Again, I don't know if they do it the same exact way for children.
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Old 05-01-2011, 09:36 AM   #3
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My DD has had several MRI's on her brain. When she was that young they gave her a medicine that put her to sleep for a short time for the MRI. They do not want any movement at all during the MRI so that is the reason for putting them to sleep. I cannot remember the name of the medicine right now but it would make her pretty grouchy when she woke up. The nurses would always have a mt dew waiting for her when she woke up as caffeine helps counteract the grouchy's with this particular medicine. That was the only time she would get caffeinated drinks & it really did help. We could always go in and sit in the MRI room with her as long as we did not have metal in our bodies. They would give us ear plugs and we could sit in the room. If you have any more questions let me know I will be glad to help.
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Old 05-01-2011, 11:00 AM   #4
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My DD13 had a brain MRI when she was 7 because they needed to rule out migraines. The doctor said she had to be awake so no sedation. She is autistic with her worst sensory issues being auditory. I explained everything that I knew of for her to expect. Here's what I explained. She would lie down on a table at the opening of a large machine. Her head would be placed inside of what seems like a cage but not to worry since it's totally safe. She would be moved on a conveyor belt so that her head ends up inside the machine. When the machine turns on it will be VERY loud. She would have ear plugs to put in but that would only muffle the sound a bit and unfortunately the sound is necessary. I told her that I would be able to stay in the room and hold her hand the whole time (they assured me before hand that I could or else I wouldn't have told her this).

When they turned the machine on the first time, she totally forgot that she had a panic button and, well, she panicked. She literally climbed out and I've never seen her move so fast. According to the tech, this was the first time she had ever seen anybody climb out of the machine. The sound scared her despite being warned. She just couldn't imagine what it would be like. I managed to calm her down and get her back in the machine and since she now knew what to expect she handed it much better. Unfortuntaly it was difficult for her to lie still since she is a sensory seeker and feels a need to move so we kept having to stop to let her move around then start again. It was not a pleasant experience but we got through without any trauma. They gave her a teddy bear to calm her down afterward and she still has that bear.
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Old 05-01-2011, 11:42 AM   #5
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Because she is so small they probably will do it with sedation. They have goggles that show movies and headphones for the sound that my girls use when they have them.

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Old 05-01-2011, 03:52 PM   #6
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Thank you all so much for your responses. It does not sound so bad just scarry for her (she also has auditory sensory issues).

Clanmcculloch - I'm so sorry it was so traumatic for you. I was thinking about getting her a special friend just to be her Dr. Buddy and go to her appointments (like a Teddy or a doll).

Auntyaya - How was the medicine given to her? Was it through an IV, or was it a shot?

Thank you all again.
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Old 05-02-2011, 06:06 AM   #7
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If they have an open type machine that will help, but the sensory issues will remain

For some testing the individual needs to be naturally interactive so the level of sedation may be variable.

My DS Aspergers took part in a research study where he had to be interactive with motor skills and could not manage it (although if we had had more practive time I think he could have)

Find out a lot more about the process before you go to the appointment. Many children's hospitals have a "practice machine" that they can lay in to get acclamated to the machine and some even spin to make the noise.
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Old 05-03-2011, 02:02 PM   #8
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@ Mommaginger

My DD had a MRI with she was 2 1/2. It is really going to come down to whether or not she will be able to cooperate. She will need to be inside the MRI machine itself (she will probably be in as far as her belly or even knees depending on how tall/short she is). If she will not be scared, if she is able to be completely still- then they would not sedate her.

If she is sedated, they will do it via IV. They will start the IV when prepping her. For us, they actually gave DD the sleeping gas. We were able to be with her up until that point. Then after she was asleep, they had us leave, they started the IV and we waited outside in the waiting area. They also had a pediatric anesthesiologist to administer her drugs.

Ask ahead of time to clarify if hers will be a standard MRI or with contrast. The "w/wo" contrast takes twice as long. If she is doing it with contrast she WILL have in IV even if she stays awake.

The pros to being awake are that you avoid all the risks from anesthesia. The cons would be just whether the child that young can do it. I know some parents who did have 4 yr old do it awake.

In our case, with the anesthesia and contrast, it was about an hour and forty minutes that we were waiting out in the waiting room. I tell that to you just so you can expect it- they told us it shouldn't be more than an hour, so, i was terrified when we were going past 90 mins that something had gone wrong.

If they have the anesthesia there will be small recovery time. As in 20 mins, maybe more, but usually not unless something goes wrong. They will give you aftercare instructions. Expect the little one to be tired afterwards, and it is normal to have puking too, if sensitive to the anesthes.

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Old 05-03-2011, 04:04 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by MommaGinger View Post
Thank you all so much for your responses.

Auntyaya - How was the medicine given to her? Was it through an IV, or was it a shot?

Thank you all again.
My daughter has to have contrast during her MRI (they do one without contrast & then they inject the contrast(dye) and do another one) So they would put an IV in when she was little so she didn't have to get stuck too many times. Even now when the inject the contrast for my dd they actually insert an IV tube and put the contrast in, then flush with saline but they remove the IV tube right after the injections now instead of leaving it in for the whole MRI. When DD did get the sedation she went to sleep very quickly & we were able to be there holding her hand until she fell asleep. I remember being stressed for my DD about the MRI's. I was way more stressed than she was!
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Old 05-03-2011, 05:52 PM   #10
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Is there something specific you want to know? Feel free to pm me. I work in a Children's hospital and take kids to MRI all the time.

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Old 05-03-2011, 09:54 PM   #11
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My DD’s last brain MRI was a long time ago. The neurologist had meant her to be sedated, but somehow the message did not get passed. We got there for the scan and had to come back another day because they didn’t have anyone set to administer the sedative.

Here are a couple of resources. The first is an MRI written tour:

Video intoduction to a child having a brain MRI

This is a really nice video for children (the first part begins with a slide show, but then there are videos with explanations geared toward children).
It has especially nice section of the sounds.

It’s in the hospital/facility’s best interest to have your child well prepared ahead of time, so many do have things to help you prepare your child. The better prepared, the less traumatic the experience will be and the better the chance of getting good quality scans in the shortest time.
I’d suggest contacting the place she is getting the MRI to see what resources they have. They may have their own videos or written information. As was mentioned, many facilities do have ‘practice’ sessions or at least let the children visit the MRI area ahead of time so they can see what it looks like.
Many children’s hospitals have play therapists who help children to understand procedures thru play.
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Old 05-04-2011, 06:36 AM   #12
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OMG you guys are great. Thank you for all the great resources. I'm going to go through them all. Also on the website for the hospital we are going to there is a video that I found that will help her understand what is going on. It is just so overwhelming and I so appreciate everyone taking time to help me.
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Old 05-04-2011, 07:42 AM   #13
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Here is a copy of the social story they sent us before my DS9 had his MRI/MEG done at CHOP in Philly.
Hope it helps!
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All Star Movies--2008All Star Movies--2010All Star Movies--2012 Paradise Pier Hotel (DL)--2014

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Old 05-06-2011, 02:46 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by MommaGinger View Post
Good Morning,

I was looking for someone who might tell me what to expect. My DD4 needs a Brain MRI as part of a neurological workup. I'm don't know what to expect or how to explain it to her. Has anyone had any experience with this or any tips for me? Thank you so much.
You may want to call the hospital in advance and ask if they have a child life specialist on staff. This person can help you explain the MRI to your DD and may be able to meet with your family before or during the test to make sure your daughter is comfortable and understands what is going on. The services of the child life specialist are provided at no extra cost to you.

If you need more information, please let me know.
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