Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is a common medical procedure used in hospitals and clinical settings in all age groups- from newborns to the elderly. It has been used with infants for over 20 years, and is fully approved by the Federal Drug Administration (FDA). MRI uses a strong magnet to produce images of the body, and is considered biologically harmless. No radiation is used. There are no known harmful side effects associated with temporary exposure to the magnetic field used by MRI machines.
In order to go inside the MRI room, you and your child must be metal-free. Since MRI uses a strong magnet, metal objects are not allowed inside the MRI room. This includes clothing with metal buttons, zippers, etc. We will have you and your child change into metal-free scrubs on the day of your visit. We will also check to make sure that you and your child are metal-free with a metal detector.
We will help your child fall asleep naturally before the scan. No sedation or anesthesia will be used. At Boston Children’s Hospital, we have developed a well-established protocol to carry out MRI with infants without sedation or anesthesia, therefore increasing the safety and efficiency of the procedure.
fMRI stands for functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging. fMRI uses a magnetic field to measure increases in blood flow in the brain. fMRI allows us to see what areas of the brain are working harder than others. By having people perform simple tasks during the scan (such as listening to sounds or looking at pictures) we can see how the brain responds.
During the scan, your child will lie down for about an hour with his/her head resting in a small compartment. The compartment has a mirror above it that shows you a projection from a computer screen. They will also be wearing earplugs and/or headphones. The mirror and headphones allow them to participate in audio and/or video tasks. The scanner makes knocking and beeping sounds while it is working, but the earplugs and/or headphones will protect their ears.