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Thread: MRIs in younger kids?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2007

    MRIs in younger kids?

    I'd love to hear people's experiences with MRIs for pre-teen children. Specificially, my daughter is currently 8. She had an MRI close to 1 1/2 years ago when she was first diagnosed, but it was an open MRI and the quality wasn't good enough to be definitive. We need to get her a closed MRI, but I remember the first MRI took a Long time (was it about 90 minutes) and while she seemed to be great about staying still, there was motion artifact. The open MRI was not stressful because it was an open environment and she could watch a movie. I'm not so sure how she'll do in an enclosed MRI. I think we can explain it to her so she knows what to expect and less likely to be fearful, but I'm not sure she'll physically be able to stay still that long.

    What have been any of your experiences? Did you have them sedated? If so, was it IV sedation, general anesthesia, something else? Our local hospital is recommending IV sedation, but we could go in and try it without. If so and she wasn't able to stay still or she got upset we'd have to reschedule and go in another time for sedation.

    How many of you did nothing? How old were your children? If you didn't sedate did you do anything to help them relax? (medicine?)

    I'd love to hear of others' experiences.

    daughter, 12, diagnosed 8/07 with 19T/13L
    -Braced in spinecor 10/07 - 8/12 with excellent in brace correction and stable/slightly decreased out of brace curves.
    -Introduced Providence brace as adjunct at night in 11/2011 in anticipation of growth spurt. Curves still stable.
    -Currently in Boston Brace. Growth spurt is here and curves (and rotation) have increased to 23T/17L

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    My Braydon (age 13yrs old) has had several MRIs in his life. He was able to lay still at age 6yrs old to have a scan done, but that's just because he is has calm personality and has experience "obeying" for medical procedures.

    Conversely, my 47yr old husband (who has MS) can not lay still to save his life. He is claustrophobic, bad. Even oral sedation is not enough to keep him still. He requires general sedation (the same general sedation used with major surgery).

    Most people are somewhere between my extremes. MANY 8yr old require sedation. Most are able to have oral sedation or IV sedation and do just fine. It is a much bigger deal when sedation is used (more nursing time, doc time, recovery time, etc.). If I were you, I would schedule the sedation scan and just plan for that. Don't even try to have a non-sedate scan. Not worth the mental trauma she may experience.

    Good luck
    mom to Kara, idiopathic scoliosis, Blake 19, GERD and Braydon 14, VACTERL, GERD, DGE, VEPTR #137, thoracic insufficiency, rib anomalies, congenital scoliosis, missing coccyx, fatty filum/TC, anal stenosis, horseshoe kidney, dbl ureter in left kidney, ureterocele, kidney reflux, neurogenic bladder, bilateral hip dysplasia, right leg/foot dyplasia, tibial torsion, clubfoot with 8 toes, pes cavus, single umblilical artery, etc.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    My daughter has had 5 MRI's all with sedation. This Friday we will go in for the sixth. I am praying that this time there will be no sedation. She is 10 now, but terrified of doing the MRI.

    Most times they just put the IV in. Her first MRI took 3 1/2 to 4 hours. It ended up being brain and full spine. Obviously it took so long because they did find something that shouldn't have been there. The others usually take 1 to 1 1/2 hours. The doctor hasn't been asking for as much imaging. This time it will only be cervical.

    Now we do one annually to follow up on Chiari and SM. We were hoping to skip this year, however, she has been showing some symptoms lately. So I'm scared that her CSF flow may be compromised again.

    Because of my situation, I think that it is imperative that all young children who have scoli also have an MRI of both brain and spine. Many doctors may disagree, as would the insurance companies, but my daughter is proof of how important an MRI can be.
    Emily's mom-11 1/2 years old
    28 degree scoliosis 9/04
    Chiari Malformation/SM decompressed 11/04
    17-24 degrees 11/04-6/07
    Wearing Spinecor Brace since June 07
    3/31/10- 29 degrees oob
    11/18/09 17 degrees in brace

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Hi Jill,

    Gillian's MRI was with IV sedation. The actual MRI took about 40 minutes, the sedation 5-10, and the waking up about 45 minutes...if you do the IV sedation, bring something simple on hand for to eat when it's over because they can't eat for 8 hours or something like that beforehand.

    G diagnosed 6/08 at almost 7 with 25*
    Providence night brace, increased to 35*
    Rigo-Cheneau brace full-time 12/08-4/10
    14* at 10/09 OOB x-ray
    11* at 4/10 OOB x-ray
    Wearing R-C part-time since 4/10
    latest OOB xray 5/14 13*
    currently going on 13 yrs old

    I no longer participate in this forum though I will update signature from time to time with status

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2004

    I just wanted to mention that while many open MRIs are not the best quality, some open MRIs "are" good quality. A doctor told me once that the open MRI's are hit and miss - some are good, others aren't.

    Is there any way Katie could have an open MRI. Maybe ask for recommendations in your area from folks who've had open MRIs that were of acceptable quality?

    Just a thought - best of luck and keep us posted!
    Mom to David, age 17, braced June 2000 to March 2004
    Vertebral Body Stapling 3/10/04 for 40 degree curve (currently mid 20's)

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Rugby, UK
    My daughter had an MRI when she was 10 and had no sedation. She was very nervous, as was I, having been told about the noise and feeling of enclosure. She was fine! Even went to sleep!!

    We took cds for her to listen to, the only problem was that when the first one ran out (after about 45 minutes) she was too shy to ask them to change it for the next.

    Good luck with whatever you decide to do.

    UK based Mum of Imogen, 38 degree curve at 9 years old. SpineCor since 15/6/07, 31 degrees in brace.
    10th December 07 - 27 degrees, 23rd June 08 - 26 degrees, Feb 09 - 24 degrees, Aug 09 - 35 degrees, Jul 10 - 47 degrees, Dec 10 - 50+ degrees.
    Surgery due to take place early December 2011 at the RNOH, England.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Sidney had his first MRI at age 11. He was, and is, a typically figety kid. He had zero experience with hospitals--it was on the same day as his first appointment for scoli, far from home. We were all nervous. He did fine--he followed instructions and lay so still that it was over in 45 minutes. And the next time (he's had 2 more since then), a year later, it was easier.

    Mary Ellen

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    DFW, TX
    My youngest daughter was 3 and had an MRI and was sedated with general anesthesia for just a head MRI. That was done rectally and she didn't like wearing a pull up as they can loose their bowel function. My older daughter was 11 or 12 and was not sedated. She had a full complete scan of her head, and full back without contrast, which is like 3 or 4 MRI's. It was quite lengthy, about an hur and a half or 2, and took much more time laying there and staying still. They asked her to bring a cd of her choice to play. She says she fell asleep but would wake up sometimes when she would hear the noise of the MRI (banging bumpling noises). It really just depends on the individual no matter what their age. Certainly if you child is nervous, as my older one was, have them explain the options. Both children were at children's hospitals and they had child life specialists to talk to my older daughter and they can talk to other siblings too, and or/you or anyone else in the family. It helped my daughter be comfortable. They said they can do other options for nerves but we didn't have to.
    Last edited by Mom37; 05-29-2009 at 12:46 PM. Reason: add
    Mom to Amanda, 18, Scoliosis T58, previous Spinecor bracing for 9 months before diagnosed with Chiari I CM, and Syringomyelia (Syrinx) SM. CM/SM decompression surgery 12/4/06, Spinal fusion surgery with titanium rods and hardware and full correction 8/1/07 at Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children.

    Also mom to Megan, 14, with diagnosis PDD-NOS on the autism spectrum

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    My daughter was 6, had a complete brain and spine without contrast, no sedation. It took about 1.5 hours. If you do with and without contrast it does take longer. They only have to hold still while the machine is scanning (a few minutes at a time), but it can still be a long time to lay there depending on the kid.

    IV sedation is safer than general, but either is fairly safe in the right hands. Some kids can get by with a nonsedating dose of valium.

    Good luck!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2009
    When I was 12 almost 13 my doctor thought I had a brain tumor. I got a brain MRI and I was sedated. I remember getting a shot and then I don't remember anything else. I brought my stuffed animal cat with me, that helped.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Some kids can get by with a nonsedating dose of valium.

    My daughter had a series of three MRI's for a total of two hours. She took a prescribed valium about an hour before she went in and was perfectly fine. Her only complaint was that she was bored!

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    I was about 8 when i had my first MRI and needed no sedation. Idk how long it took, but it must have taken longer than an hour because the doctors had no idea what they were looking for. I had already been diagnosed with scoliosis, but because of the degree of my curvature they were certain that something else was going on. They eventually found a slight abonormality in my brain. I've had about ten MRIs done since then and they have all gone smoothly and I required no type of sedation.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Dec 2009

    MRI w/ full sedation and intubation

    My son has MRI's every 5 years to track his mitochondrial disease because it caused changes in his brain function. The last one was a combo MRI since the orthoped was wanting one of his back. We check all 9 drs before any test to see if they want in on it too. It saves John being poked repeatedly. The drs are very considerate of this as well.

    John has to be completely sedated and fully intubated to protect his lungs from aspiration pneumonia since he has stomach reflux. Yes, it takes longer but we get a better picture and we know that his airway is protected.

    Bottom line, every patient is different, every method is different. Don't feel like your a wimp just because you need to be sedated for it.

    Son, 20, with Mitochondrial Myopathy: partial CPT2 and partial That's John Syndrome, Scoli curve 28-30, kypho curve 70-72.

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