How to Prepare for MRI with Anesthesia
At Children’s Hospital Oakland Walnut Creek Campus our Diagnostic Imaging Center has the most advanced equipment for delivering anesthesia and monitoring your child. Children's MRI scanner produces superb high resolution images without using radiation. The bright ceiling creates a welcoming environment for children.
Preparing for the MRI
To make your child’s MRI with anesthesia and recovery go smoothly, it’s important for you and your child to be prepared. A Children’s Hospital child life specialist can help.
A child life specialist will answer all the questions you or your child may have, in language appropriate to your child’s age. This may include role-playing all parts of the anesthesia and MRI experience with you and your child.
One of our nurses will call you to review your child’s medical history, cover our anesthesia procedures and discuss what your child may or may not eat before their MRI.
- If your child has been sick with a cough, runny nose or fever above 100 degrees Fahrenheit within three weeks before their MRI with anesthesia, it is important to speak with a staff nurse to get pre-procedure clearance.
Things to Remember for Your MRI with Anesthesia
- Tell the telephoning nurse if your child has been sick during the three weeks before their MRI with anesthesia.
- Bring your insurance information, guardianship papers and the “History and Physical” form for each visit to the center.
- Follow the food restrictions listed below for your child—starting the night before their MRI with anesthesia.
- Check if your child should take medications on the day of their MRI with anesthesia.
- Bring your child’s favorite blanket, toy, doll or book on their MRI with anesthesia day.
- Arrive at least an hour before the scheduled MRI with anesthesia, but no earlier than 6:30 a.m.
- The legal guardian must remain at Children’s Diagnostic Imaging Center throughout their child’s stay.
- Do not bring other children to Children’s Diagnostic Imaging Center. Please make alternate arrangements for your other children.
- Remove jewelry, cosmetics, hair gel, barrettes, hair pins and any removable dental work from your child.
- Have your child’s favorite but appropriate foods and drinks available upon returning home after their MRI with anesthesia.
Night Before the MRI
Follow the specific instructions given to you over the phone by the Diagnostic Imaging nurse. Make sure your child has an empty stomach.
- No solid food or milk after midnight. Clear liquids may be given if the nurse said it’s OK. If you cannot see through the liquid it is not clear. Good choices are clear apple juice, Pedialyte or 7-Up.
- Absolutely nothing in the mouth, not even chewing gum, for three (3) hours before an MRI with anesthesia.
Day of the MRI
Arrive at least one (1) hour before the MRI with anesthesia’s scheduled start time but not before 6:30 a.m. to allow time for the registration process and preparation time with the child life specialist.
The next steps include:
- A legal decision-maker (parent, legal guardian, responsible caretaker) must accompany the patient on the day of their surgery and remain at the imaging center during their procedure.
- If you would like a free interpreter to assist you during your visit, please let us know so we can arrange one for you.
- A registration clerk will help with your paperwork. Please bring your medical insurance cards. If you are not the patient’s parent, please bring court orders or other documentation authorizing you to make medical decisions for the patient.
- Give us any completed “History and Physical” form that your physician may have given you.
- Please don’t bring other children with you. Make alternate child care arrangements so the child having an MRI with anesthesia will have your full attention.
- All female patients older than 12 years are required to give a urine sample. Please have your child wait until she gets here to go to the bathroom so we can collect that sample.
- Removing your child’s jewelry (including earrings), as well as braids, beads or hair accessories
- Helping your child put on a hospital gown or pajamas
- Some children will be given a medication by mouth to help prepare them for anesthesia
- Meeting the anesthesiologist, who will explain the anesthesia process
- Asking any questions you may have
The Induction Room is an area where you and your child can be together while the anesthesiologist starts the process of putting your child to sleep.
- Some children may have their parents with them as they fall asleep in the induction room.
- There are times, for safety reasons, parents may not be present when a child is given anesthesia.
The anesthesiologist will decide on the safest way for your child to go to sleep.
- Most children go to sleep by breathing into a mask that resembles one worn by jet pilots or astronauts.
- The air your child breathes will make him or her feel silly and giggly inside.
- Within seconds, your child will feel very, very sleepy.
- As sleep deepens, some children go through an “excitement” phase and may wiggle around.
- Your child will not remember this period.
- Sometimes we need to start an IV to help your child fall asleep.
- The anesthesiologist will monitor your child carefully to make sure your child is safe during the MRI with anesthesia procedure.
In the Recovery Room
After the MRI with anesthesia, your child will go into the recovery room, which is often called the “wake-up room.” Parents or guardians are allowed in the recovery room.
Children vary in their reactions to anesthesia:
- Many children wake up groggy but comfortable.
- Others may wake up crying because they are confused.
- Our specially trained pediatric recovery room nurse will closely monitor your child during this time to keep your child as peaceful and comfortable as possible.
The nurses and doctors caring for your child will decide when he or she can go home. You will be given instructions to help you care for your child at home. Do not hesitate to ask questions before you leave; we want you to be comfortable caring for your child.
On rare occasions, children having an MRI with anesthesia cannot be sent home the same day. If this occurs, we will discuss this with you and arrange for your child’s admission to Children’s Hospital in Oakland.
Once home, your child may be tired and want to nap for the rest of the day. Plan to stay close by because your child may be groggy or unsteady. Your child may also be irritable for the rest of the day and that night.
If your child did not drink clear liquids before leaving the center, you may begin these as soon as you arrive home.
- Make sure that you have a supply of your child’s favorite clear liquids at home.
- If clear liquids are tolerated for an hour without vomiting, you may give your child soup and gradually advance to normal foods.
- We recommend that your child avoid eating spicy or hard-to-digest foods for the first day.
- Do not force your child to eat, but encourage fluids, which will probably help your child feel better sooner.
- Be sure to talk to us if your child is not drinking by the next morning.
Our goal is to make your experience at Children’s Diagnostic Imaging center as safe and pleasant as possible. If you have any comments or suggestions, please let us know.
You may call our nurses at any time if you have any questions or concerns about your child’s surgery or recovery progress. Please call us at: 925-979-3400
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