MRI scan – information for parents

What is an MRI scan?

MRI stands for magnetic resonance imaging. 

An MRI scan uses a combination of a strong magnet and radiowaves to produce detailed pictures of the inside of the body. It can help to find out what is causing your child's problem and help your doctor to find the best treatment.

It provides much more detailed pictures of your child's body than an ordinary x-ray. It is particularly good at identifying problems in the spine, brain and the joints. It is also helpful for looking at other parts of the body, often when other types of scan have not given a full picture.

Unlike x-rays and CT (computerised tomography) scans, MRI scans do not use radiation. 

MRI scans under general anaesthetic

Please see our separate page if your child needs to have an MRI under general anaesthetic. Children under 10 years of age usually need an anaesthesia for a heart scan.

Having an MRI scan while awake

The information below relates to children having an MRI scan while awake. 

Preparing for the scan



For general enquiries call the MRI reception on 020 7188 9218.

For appointment enquiries please contact one of the below:

  • MRI appointments - 020 7188 7188 extension 58360
  • heart MRI appointments – 020 7188 7188 extension 50863

How to find us

Level 1 – Arctic (penguin and igloo zones)
Evelina London Children's Hospital
Westminster Bridge Road
London SE1 7EH

How to get to Evelina London