> The Beesley Buzz: MRI update - Should my child have an MRI without general anaesthetic?

MRI update - Should my child have an MRI without general anaesthetic?

Monday was a bit of a milestone for Miss T. Although it was her third MRI scan having had two done previously on her legs - one as part of the diagnosis process when she first had Juvenile Arthritis and one done to check how things were progressing when her foot seemed swollen last summer, this was the first time that she had an MRI without sedation or anaesthetic. 

I remember driving her to our local hospital for her first MRI scan back in early 2015. I remember feeling tearful doing that early morning drive with the sun shining brightly and wondering why my little girl had to go through this at that young age. 

I remember the nurses being amazed at what a calm and happy kid she was. They didn't often come across such relaxed toddlers. The nurse contemplated doing the MRI without sedation even back then when Miss T was just two. But the risk of her getting freaked out and then having to go through it all a second time was too high so they did the sedation. 

I remember feeling unsure of how quickly it would take effect. I hated seeing my happy little girl suddenly become grumpy as the tiredness hit her. Nothing distracted her and in the end I just lay on the bed with her until she fell asleep. 

Then it was down to the MRI room. I wasn't allowed in. I wish I could have been. 

I sat outside and read and tried to distract myself and waited. 

Then it was over. She was crying - I could hear her. Then I was allowed in. 

Back up to the ward. She was given some food and monitored for a while and then we could go home. 

The next time it was her consultant at Great Ormond street who requested it. So it was up to Great Ormond street - this time under general anaesthetic. Miss T was older. It was last August. She was 4 years old. Her consultant knows how calm and relaxed she is and so had anticipated that the MRI could be done without any sedation or anaesthetic. However the MRI team had made plans to do it under general anaesthetic and it didn't feel like we got a choice in the matter. 

This time her consultant had insisted that she was able to lie still for the 40 minutes it would take (two lots of 20 minutes with a break in between). Although we know her well enough to have hoped that she could do it, she is still just a 4 year old kid at the end of the day and if she had felt worried or confused then it could have all gone pear-shaped. Daddy was allowed to stay with her the whole time. She had taken The Bee Movie DVD to watch whilst in the scanner. All went smoothly. 

But my brilliant little girl did it! This photo shows her with her massive chocolate cookie straight after the MRI - Smiles all round, no grogginess or sleepiness this time. 

I wish we'd fought her corner more before but at least now we know that if she needs an MRI again, she CAN do it without sedation or anaesthetic. 


  1. oh well done to Miss T. I have to be sedated for MRI myself because I'm very claustrophobic, although I don't have a general anaesthetic or sleep. For a small child to be able to go through that for 40 minutes is amazing. And of course it's so much better for her little body not to be anaesthetised. I'm just sorry she had to go through it at all xxx I hope the results are good xx

    1. thanks anne. It is checking her jaw which they've wanted to do for sometime - so i'm glad the MRI has happened now - we see consultant in summer but i guess if anything urgent they would get in touch sooner.

  2. Seriously impressed with Miss T Rebecca - I'm not sure I could lay still and calm for 2 20 minute scans!
    Angela x

    1. thanks Angela - yes she is a little superstar!


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