Jeffrey P. Clarke, MD explains what an MRI is and how the process works at Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital.

Before the patient can go in the scanner room, specific MRI safety questions will need to be answered by the parent. MRI uses a strong magnet to create images and there are certain contraindications to having an MRI performed. The parent will be asked to fill out an MRI safety form prior to the patient having an MRI scan for any part of the body.

Once the patient is cleared, the technologist will position the patient on the scanner table and slide the patient into the scanner. The body part being imaged will be placed in special device called a "coil." This helps us get the best images possible. It is extremely important for the patient to hold still during the exam. We have great MRI technologists who work only with pediatric and adolescent patients and are excellent at helping nervous patients get through the scan.

Depending on many factors including type of MRI, length of MRI scan, age of patient, and condition of the patient, sedation may be considered. Our Department of Anesthesia at Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital provides all of the sedation for our radiology department. Each anesthesiologist is specially trained in pediatric anesthesia. They do an amazing job and are critical to the success and safety in imaging some of our patients.

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