MRI of the brain kids: what shows?


The brain is protected from damage strong bones of the skull. The bones of the skull, as a protection against injury, constitute an obstacle to the examination of this important body – to examine eyes or to feel with your hands.

With the advent of MRI, the problem ceased to exist: using this method can reveal organic pathology of the brain and the spinal cord at any stage of the process.

Magnetic resonance imaging is widely used in medicine for over thirty years. During this time it has proven its safety for humans, including children.

Based on what method?

The method is based on the physical properties of the electromagnetic field to change the return pulses of hydrogen in body tissues. Check these impulses and allows you to create volumetric three-dimensional picture of the body scanner makes the longitudinal and transverse scans, every five millimeters.

How is the study?

Doing a survey using magnetic resonance imaging. The device is similar to a large cylinder, inside of which is placed the patient.

The procedure is completely painless and non-invasive (does not disturb the integrity of tissues). All that is required from the patient is to remain in a fixed position, lying on your back, throughout the study (thirty – forty minutes).

Particularities of the procedure in children

The most important condition for the MRI to stay in a fixed position, it is difficult even for adults. For children, especially under five years, stay in confined space apparatus, which emits during operation of the crackling sounds in itself is very stressful and harmful to the baby, so the children under five years of doing research under anesthesia and only for serious reasons. For anesthesia using the drug Propofol, which has a short effect and safe for even newborns.

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Indications for use of anesthesia during MRI of the brain is determined not so much by the year of birth of the child, as his psychological state, not uncommon to find children and is much older than five years, who are unable due to various reasons thirty minutes to spend inside the unit still.

Children older than five years, during the procedure, distracting listening to music and fairy tales. Many modern devices are equipped with a screen where you can view cartoons, communicate with parents via a microphone and headphones. If the child is agitated, he was prescribed sedatives (sedative), taking into account children’s age and individual characteristics.

There are also devices with an open circuit. In such devices inside the cylinder is only the head of the child next to him can be parents or medical staff, it is especially important for children in the first year of life.

After the study with the use of anesthesia or pharmacological sedation the child is in the hospital after the completion of the study, until the end of the action of psychotropic drugs.

The use of anesthesia and sedatives in children, even up to a year, it is harmless if not used repeatedly and for a long time.

In preparation for the examination

The procedure requires no special training. If anesthesia is planned, then to talk to the anesthesiologist will have to visit the clinic before the study. The doctor will find out all necessary information regarding contraindications to anesthesia. He also gives recommendations for the preparation of the study.

Flow of anesthesia is on an empty stomach, as a rule, it is performed in the morning hours. Therefore, before the procedure, do not give your child food and drink. The evening before the study should also refrain from dinner later than seven o’clock in the evening.

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If brain MRI is planned without anesthesia, feed the baby before the study is still not worth it, because on the background of nervous stress in a child can happen vomiting. MRI in the morning dietary recommendations are the same as for anesthesia if the test is scheduled in the second half of the day, the last meal should be no later than six hours before the procedure. The baby can feed two hours before the study.

It is also necessary to limit excessive fluid intake in the last twelve hours before the MRI so the child is not wanted to use the toilet. Before the procedure the child may be invited to visit the toilet.

You need to prepare in advance the clothes in which the child will be inside the device: it must not contain metal rivets, buttons, hooks, jewelry. If a child has a cross or other metal items must be removed.

Before entering the hardware necessary to remove the tooth plate. About the presence of braces in advance to tell the doctor who will carry out the study may have to be removed temporarily.


  • Congenital malformations of the brain.
  • Injury.
  • Infection (meningitis, encephalitis, abscess).
  • A suspicion of cancer, and monitoring the effectiveness of treatment.
  • Hemorrhage and insufficiency of blood supply (ischemia).
  • Aneurysm of the brain.
  • The appearance of severe neurologic symptoms (e.g., epileptic seizures).

  • Multiple sclerosis.


  • Inability to perform anesthesia (if needed).
  • The presence of external and internal metal structures (non-removable fixing elements in the treatment of fractures).
  • Implanted electronic device (pacemaker).
  • Tattoo.
  • Metal prosthesis.
  • Acute mental illness and severe claustrophobia (inability to perform anesthesia).
  • Heavy General condition.

Alternative methods of diagnosis

In children under three months, the examination of the brain is possible using ultrasound examination, through the region of the large Fontanelle (krasnoglazova neurosonography). This method has been successfully applied to diagnose hydrocephalic syndrome (dropsy of the brain) and other pathologies of the brain structures.

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It is possible to conduct ultrasound through the temporal bone, but this method requires special equipment and significantly inferior to MRI in diagnostic efficiency.

It is possible to conduct computed tomography. CT is harmful to children because of radiation exposure. But if it is impossible to perform an MRI, for example, if the MRI apparatus is not in a medical facility, a diagnosis is essential immediately. Such situations occur rarely, for example, in traumatic brain injury or cerebral coma of unknown origin. Parents should not refuse CT in case of an emergency, as a single radiation exposure to the child significant harm will not bring, and in time diagnosis may have saved his life.


If the doctor ordered an MRI the child, he has serious evidence. We should not abandon diagnosis, even if it is scheduled under General anesthesia. Problems identified in a timely manner, can safely be treated, in most cases, cured completely. At the same time not appointed in time treatment, may result in disability and even the death of a child.