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.