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MS Kids

MRI and healthy volunteers

MRI scanner at SickKids
MRI scanner at SickKids

An MRI scanner is a large, doughnut-shaped machine with a bed-like surface, which slides into a giant circular magnet. MRI provides a safe way of taking pictures of the inside of the body by using a strong magnet and radio waves, all without using X-rays. 

In our study, healthy children and teens complete an MRI brain scan so we can obtain a detailed picture the brain, optic nerves and spinal cord. An MRI scan takes approximately 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes to complete and does not hurt in any way. During the scan, the machine is fairly noisy but ear plugs are provided. In some MRI scanners there are movie goggles that  can be used to watch a movie during the procedure. You can also bring a music player to listen during the scan.  To produce clear pictures, it is important to hold still for several minutes at a time. During the procedure, the MRI technologist, who will complete the scan, is able to communicate with you through a speaker system. The MRI technologist tells you when it is important to lie very still so the pictures can be taken and when you can relax and wiggle a bit.

Since the MRI scanner is sensitive to metal, it is important to remove all metal-like items from the body. Healthy volunteers CANNOT  have  braces, permanent retainers or any other metal implant in their body. Just before the scan, volunteers are asked to change into a hospital gown and remove any metal items from their body (jewelry, including body piercings, hearing aids, hairpins, eyeglasses).