Recently, my 6 month old had an MRI at Akron Children’s hospital. I know preparing for something like this can be stressful so I wanted to share our experience and let you know (almost) exactly what you can plan on.

Food Restrictions

My son was 6 months old at the time and these were the instructions for his eating.

  • No baby food after midnight.
  • No formula after 2am.
  • Only water or pedialyte until 6am.

Day of the MRI

We arrived an hour before the scheduled MRI. The first step was having baby’s vitals checked to be sure he was okay to proceed. Baby was changed and wore just a diaper and t-shirt. I also had to change in to scrubs. (It’s now our hospital’s policy but it may differ for you.)

About thirty minutes before the doctor arrived, the sedation nurses prepared baby with his IV and wrapped his arm so that he couldn’t rip anything out.

In the midst of this hour of prep, there were papers to sign to consent to the treatment. I was also told about the medicine and what to expect from it.

Younger children have a higher metabolism and therefore they sometimes require more medicine for sedation. I was told up front that they would try one, but would possibly need to use a second. He only ended up needing the first.

In the MRI room

I was able to stay with my baby the entire time. I will say, that may be too difficult for some. I laid him on the table of the MRI and the nurses went to work. As I was warned, he did experience some discomfort once the medicine went in the IV. He was uncomfortable. He went through a ‘restless stage’ during which he was moving around, was clearly uncomfortable, and eventually his eyes started to glaze over and roll. They rolled a lot. I personally thought I’d be fine but had to walk away. So just be warned it’s not a great thing to see with your little one.

Once he was all set, they gave him oxygen, plugged his earns, wrapped him, and in he went. I was able to sit in the room the whole time while they did the test. It was about 45 minutes. That is the average time to expect as long as your child holds still and the tech does not need to redo any part of the MRI test.

Recovery/Release/Results

Once the test was over, I was told to get baby’s bottle ready while the sedation nurses took him back to his room. It was less than five minutes and when I got to him he was awake and having fun. He was clearly very tired. The medicine was also still wearing off and he did not have full control of his body. I did have to hold him a little extra tight so he wouldn’t flop over. It typically takes up to an hour for babies to be back to themselves. He was very tired, but he was very much his happy self within that time frame.

My baby had his bottle right away and was discharged as soon as he finished.

Our hospital was wonderful and the nurses could not have been any nicer. One of them called the next morning to check on my baby. I know that’s protocol but it felt great that they care enough to do that.

I do not know the average time for results, but we had an appointment with baby’s neurologist that afternoon after his other test and we received the results then.

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