FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Ask anyone what it's like to undergo an MRI and people will tell you it can be tough staying still while you're in a tightly confined space in a loud machine. If you move, you'll have to start all over again. For kids, that task can be nearly impossible without sedation. Now new technology is providing a safe distraction.
Koral Del Mar Rivera is learning about MRI. The imaging test can sound scary.
But once kids are prepared, it doesn't have to be.
The "MR-I Am Ready" program teaches kids and their parents what to expect.
"When she got here she was nervous, I was super nervous too," Yvonne Fernandez, Koral's mother, told Ivanhoe.
SubmitNow the dreaded experience can be fun, thanks to these new MRI movie goggles.
"I think it's making a huge difference, there's a lot of noise and banging," explained Suzanne Scott BHS, RT (R) (CT) and Multi-Modality Technologist of Pediatric Imaging for Wolfson Children's Hospital.
Scott says the Cinemavision goggles help immerse kids in a movie and stay still without sedation.
"Around four to five years old, we're seeing some children can get through their MRI for that at that age," Scott explained, "which is huge, because pretty much they were looking at sedating anyone under 10."
"I heard noises and I heard the movie," Koral Del Mar told Ivanhoe.
The goggles helped Koral Del Mar's mom too.
"I started crying when I saw her in the donut hole. But when I saw her relax, I said, okay, I'm good now," said Fernandez.
Bringing the big screen to your MRI.
An MRI can sometimes last up to three hours. The MRI Cinemavision goggles are now being made available to adults who suffer from claustrophobia in some centers around the U.S.
BACKGROUND: Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), is a non-invasive technique that uses a magnetic field and radio waves to scan and create detailed images of bones, organs and other soft tissues in the body. The MRI machine is large and tube-shaped, and consists of magnets. When you lie in the machine, the magnetic field realigns hydrogen atoms in the body, temporarily. Radio waves then allow the atoms to create faint signals that form the MRI images; sometime these images are rendered in 3-D to view from different angles. MRI's do not use ionizing radiation (x-rays).
(Sources: http://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/mri/basics/definition/prc-20012903, http://www.radiologyinfo.org/en/info.cfm?pg=bodymr)
WHAT TO EXPECT DURING AN MRI: The main point for a patient during an MRI scan is to remain completely still while the images are being taken; this can be anywhere from a few seconds, to a few minutes at a time. If there is movement, the images can become blurred and unable to be read by technicians and doctors. There will be loud tapping or thumping sounds when the coils that generate the radio frequency pulses are being generated; these are the moments the images are being recorded. Sedation is not required, but some patients who feel claustrophobic may ask for it.
"MR-I AM READY!": Wolfson Children's Hospital in Jacksonville, FL has created a new program to ease the MRI testing procedure for children. The "MR-I Am Ready" program is designed to help children between ages six to 11 complete an MRI without sedation. One week prior to a child's MRI, they meet with a child life specialist who walks them through the steps of an MRI, including using photos and having them practice lying still through play-based activities. The program uses a combination of desensitization and cognitive behavioral therapies such as deep breathing, audio distraction and positive reinforcement, along with practice simulations. The "MR-I Am Ready" program is free of charge to all children scheduled for an MRI at Wolfson.
(Sources: http://www.wolfsonchildrens.org/programs-services/support/child-life/Pages/MR-IAmReady.aspx, http://www.wolfsonchildrens.org/programs-services/hospital-services/imaging/Pages/MRI_Iamready.aspx)
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