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An MRI uses strong magnets to take detailed pictures of the inside of the head and other parts of the body.

About Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)

An MRI is a procedure that uses strong magnets to take detailed pictures of the inside of the body, including the brain and spine. The pictures are so clear that doctors can often tell the difference between healthy tissue and tumor tissue.

Sometimes doctors will inject a special dye, called gadolinium, through an IV to make MRI images even more clear. Your child’s scan may include the brain, the spine, or both.

During the procedure, your child must lie very still on a table that slides inside the MRI machine. The MRI machine makes a thumping noise when it is taking pictures.

Talking to Your Child About MRIs

Age-appropriate videos can help parents and caregivers talk with children about cancer. The Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation’s Imaginary Friend Society is a series of short, animated videos that talk about cancer-related topics in a kid-friendly way. In the following video, imaginary friends Roger and Charlie talk about how to avoid getting bored or scared during an MRI.


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