Is your kid suffering from acute pain or burning sensation near the abdomen, chest, shoulders, arms, neck, or head? Does a high fever accompany this pain?
Is there a sore or wound in your kid’s body that does not tend to leave?
Do your child looks pale and fragile? Did your child experience an absurd weight gain or loss?
You must see a pediatric doctor and seek help! These are common signs of internal disorders and diseases that’s making your child suffer. You have to nip it in the bud.
Your doctor will examine your child and look for better ways to confirm the exact reason for your child’s suffering and what’s its condition. That’s where Pediatric MRI scans appear in the picture to help your doctor get an accurate visual for assessment and confirmation.
What Are Pediatric MRI Scans, and How Do They Work?
Pediatric MRI scans, or Magnetic Resonance Imaging scans, to be precise, are typically medical imaging procedures that utilize a powerful magnetic field and radio waves to produce high-resolution in-depth images of your child’s internal structures and functions.
MRI scans are noninvasive, meaning they do not indulge in wear and tear on your kid’s body, as for adults. Nor do these scans involve harmful ionizing radiation, like X-rays or Computed Tomography (CT) scans!
This means an MRI scan is the safest diagnostic modality for your child!
The MRI scanner is tunnel-like. While you enter the test lab with your kid, you will see the moveable bed attached to this machine. That is where your child has to rest during the test. This bed goes inside the tube where the scanning takes place.
The walls of the machine have attached magnets to them, which create a strong magnetic field, provoking your kid’s body protons to shift from their position. As a result, the radio waves can trace their movement and send signals to the computer console, mapping the internal anatomical images on the screen.
The scan may or may not involve contrast dye to enhance the image quality and see abnormalities obscured by bones or in case of smaller abnormal masses or lesions. The healthcare providers in the radiology labs administer this contrast via injections into your kid’s veins. [Note: Talk to the pediatric doctor about it in detail before you take your kid for the scan].
The total of about 45 to 90 minutes may an MRI scan take to complete, and you can bring your kid back home and return to your daily chores on time.
Benefits of Pediatric MRI Scans: A Brief!
Apart from being safe, MRI scans do hold certain beneficial grounds that you won’t find in other nuclear imaging studies.
The first is its capability to accurately reveal soft tissue images, especially for organs like the brain, liver, or heart. The soft tissue detailing makes MRI scans a top pick for myriads of health conditions that doctors predict your kid may have, particularly the complex ones!
While about 1.6 to 4.8% of all cancer cases in India are seen among children below 15, MRI scans serve efficiently in their early diagnosis and treatment.
MRI scans also act as an alternative to the minimally-invasive angiographies for diagnosing blood vessels and overall heart conditions. It, in fact, reserves more diagnostic values than some angiographies. For instance, an MRI scan holds about 97% sensitivity and 87% specificity in screening coronary heart disease, while a CT angiography holds 95.2% and 79.2%, respectively.
The gadolinium contrasts that an MRI may involve; is bare to cause allergic reactions as a side effect compared to the iodine-based ones used for traditional X-rays and CTs.
Why Do Doctors Ask For Pediatric MRI Scans?
Your doctor may order Pediatric MRI scans to evaluate diverse health conditions and diseases affecting your child. Your doctor can see the organs, tissues, bones, and blood vessels, thereby appropriately treating and monitoring your child’s health.
Here go some common reasons for your doctor to ask for a pediatric MRI scan!
Brain and Central Nervous System Disorders
Did the doctor prescribe a Brain or Head MRI? This is to diagnose conditions affecting your child’s brain health, such as brain tumors, inflammation, infections, congenital (birth) abnormalities, epilepsy, hydrocephalus, multiple sclerosis, aneurysms, and more!
Spinal Cord and Peripheral Nervous System Anomalies
If your doctor recommends a Spine MRI scan for your child, understand that your doctor predicts that your child may have a spinal cord injury, benign or malignant tumors, tethered cord syndrome, abscesses, herniated disc, peripheral nerve damage due to entrapments or inflammation, etc.
Doctors prefer referring a Pediatric MRI scan to examine conditions related to your muscles, joints, cartilage, nerves, and tendons, whether a sports injury, fractures, juvenile idiopathic arthritis, musculoskeletal tumors, cancers, and other lesions.
Abdominal and Pelvic Disorders
In the case of Abdominal MRI scans, your doctor certainly aims to find out what’s bothering your kid’s abdominal organs, including the liver, kidneys, intestines, and reproductive organs. This helps them identify tumors, cysts, and inflammatory diseases.
When doctors recommend Pediatric Chest MRI, be sure it’s meant to map your kid’s heart defects and those of the blood vessels. With this scan, doctors can determine the blood flow, look at the valve condition, heart chamber, whether or not any blood clot or abnormal growth, and so forth!
How To Prepare For Pediatric MRI Scans: For The Guardian!
Preparing your child for an MRI scan requires you to take certain precautions and ensure that your child gets comfort during the test.
If your child has suffocation issues, make sure you consult the pediatric doctor and ask for a sedative recommendation. This can help your child stay still for the duration of the scan. You can ask the healthcare providers to give you a bedsheet and may even carry ear cuffs and eye masks for your kid.
Make sure you remove all metal objects from your child’s body before approaching the test lab, be it a piece of jewelry or hair accessories. It is because, during the MRI, the strong magnetic field can affect these objects and cause an injury to your child and those nearby.
If your kid has an existing metallic implant in the body, maybe like a cochlear ear implant or dental metallic fillings, do notify the doctors at the very time they prescribe a Pediatric MRI. Your doctor has to go for an alternative modality.
Likewise, if your kids have any kind of skin allergies, do not forget to discuss this with the healthcare providers before the scan so that they go for an MRI without contrast.
A team of expert pediatric radiologists typically supervises and interprets the Pediatric MRI scans. The report is likely to reach you in one or two weeks. Corollary to this, the pediatric doctor can make a suitable treatment plan and initiate it. The scan is simple, and your constant proactive support can make it go easy for your child.