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Diagnostic imaging
Diagnostic Imaging

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) produces images through the use of a strong magnetic field, radio frequency signals and varying gradient fields. Imaging parameters involving these three components are manipulated to generate images of varying signal intensities, in any imaging plane, for use in diagnosis and treatment planning, MRI images are used to visualize internal anatomy, differentiate tissue types and demonstrate pathologies.

Acquisition of MR images require patients to remain still from 30 minutes to more than two hours depending upon the sequences necessary to obtain optimal diagnostic information. Therefore, children often require sedation or general anaesthetic in a MRI setting.

Patients who are coming in for an MRI exam must successfully undergo an MRI safety screening process performed by authorized MRI Personnel. On arrival at the MRI department, the patient or their parent/guardian will be asked to complete and date the 'Second Screening' portion of the MRI Screening for Patients form. Parents/guardians will be notified of any concerns. If the patient is approved for the exam, they will be given a set of hospital clothing to change into before going beyond the reception area. At this time, any metallic objects such as jewelry, watches, hair pins and rings should be removed. Before the patient enters the MR screening room, all sections of the MRI Screening for Patients form will be reviewed by MR Personnel. They will verbally confirm with the parents/guardians that all portions of the Initial and Second Screening checklists have been considered.

Parents and guardians who wish to accompany their children during MRI procedures must be advised that the strong magnetic field, varying gradient field and radio frequency pulse present potential hazards in an MR environment. It is imperative that all individuals entering the MR environment be properly screened and appropriately educated to avoid injury. Zone I, which consists of the waiting area outside the MR environment, is accessible to everyone. Parents and guardians accompanying their children beyond Zone I, into the MR environment, much first undergo an MRI screening process performed by MR Personnel and complete an MRI Screening Form for Non-Patients form for each day they enter the MR environment.

Staff at SickKids ensure that equipment, technology and procedures are tailored to meet the unique needs of our pediatric patients.

For more information on what you can expect on your visit to MRI, please visit AboutKidsHealth.ca, see the MRI information page or watch the video of a virtual MRE tour.

Referring physicians

Referring physicians: copy of MRI requisition and guidelines for completion.

Please download  MRI Requisition Form,  MRI History and Physical Form

Thank you for referring your patient to our MRI Department. 

SickKids offers two types of MR Scanners:

  •  3 Tesla (3T)
  • 1.5 Tesla (1.5T) magnet 

Patient Safety and timeliness are our utmost priorities.  You will ensure that your patient is scheduled appropriately by accurately completing the request for consultation included below. Patient bookings are done according to information you provided on the MRI requisition. In order to assist you in that process, below are some guidelines.

Guidelines for completing an MRI requisition:

  • Include the patient’s weight and height.  They assist us in proper booking and planning
  • Please evaluate the ability of the patient you are referring us to be able to hold still for about an hour. If you feel this is not possible, we may need to sedate or anesthetize the patient. Your clinical evaluation will allow us to appropriately schedule the procedure in a timely manner. As a rule of thumb patients above six years of age usually are able to undergo their MRI without being sedated
  •  List all surgeries—please indicate the procedure and date of surgery. Please include minor surgeries such as dental interventions or ear tube implants
  • Please document all Implants- Implants which are MR Safe on the 1.5T magnet may not be safe on the 3T
    • Name of Implant, and date implanted
    • Manufacturer of Implant
    • Model number of Implant
  • Indicate if there are any renal issues, or if there has been a prior contrast reaction. It is general practice to calculate the GFR on all patients who need MRI contrast if there is suspicion of compromised renal function.

MRI Safety Officer: Stephanie Holowka
MRI Quality Specialist and Team Leader: Manoj Singh
Clinical Educator: Sara Kabakos

Modality Heads (Body): Mary-Louse Greer, Govind Chavhan
Modality Head (Neuro): Birgit Ertl-Wagner
Manager: Natalie Therrien-Miller

Phone: 416-813-5774
Fax: 416-813-5789
Location: Service level

MRE tour