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MRI information for children aged over 11

Patient arriving for MRI scan

The aim of this photo story is to show you other children having an MRI. This will give you an idea of what your scan will involve.

MRI stands for magnetic resonance imaging. 


Before the scan

You and your parent will complete an MRI checklist with the radiographer to make sure it is safe for you to have the scan. We will need a parent's signature for the checklist.  

You will need to put your things in a locker outside the scan room. 

Patient putting belongings into locker

This includes keys, credit and travel and Oyster cards and mobile phones. No metal can go in the scan room because the MRI scanner is a large magnet that is on all of the time. 

The scanner is a short tunnel, open at both ends.

The radiographer will take you into the room and explain the procedure.   

During the scan

Once positioned on the scanner table you will need to keep still so that the pictures are not blurred.

You will be given a buzzer to hold in case you need the radiographer during the scan. 

The scanner is very noisy, so you will also wear headphones. If you have a scan of your head, you will wear a special helmet. 

You can listen to a CD during the scan, so bring one with you.

Patient on MRI scanner table

Sometimes you can watch a DVD, so bring this too if you want.

Your parent can stay with you during the scan.  They have to wear headphones too.

In between the sets of pictures the radiographer will talk to you through a microphone to check you are OK.

The scan takes 20-40 minutes.

Scanner noises

Here are some of the noises you may hear during your scan. 

MRI sounds one


MRI sounds two


MRI sounds three


MRI sounds four


After the scan

Patient waving goodbye to hospital staff member

When it is finished you can leave.

The doctors will look at the pictures and will give you and your parents the results later.

You may have a scan of any part of your body. See the MRI images page.

Useful information

See a photo story about having an MRI (PDF 194Kb).