An MRE machine
Your child will be asked to lie on the MRI scanner bed, given hearing protection and then properly positioned for the MRI. Your child will then be moved into the scanner, and the part of the body being examined will be in the center of the machine. Your child will be asked to hold still during the MRI. Any movement can cause images to blur. During the exam, the MRI technician will talk with your child to let them know what's going on and to make sure they're okay. Your child will also be given a buzzer to press if they need the MRI to stop.

Oral Contrast for MRI

  • In order for a successful MRI exam, your child must drink an oral contrast. This is the most important step, and your child must finish all of the drink.
  • If your child does not finish all of the contrast, the MRI may not work to help your doctor diagnose your child.
  • Each patient’s individual weight determines the amount of oral contrast needed:

The oral contrast drink consists of:

A graph showing how much oral contrast a child needs for an MRE based on their weight
This chart shows how much oral contrast your child needs before their MRE depends on their weight.


  • 0.5 ounces (17 grams) of Miralax powder (oral contrast). Miralax is tasteless and will dissolve completely into liquid.
  • Liquid (water or juice). Miralax can be mixed with any non-carbonated liquid. If there is a particular drink you prefer (eg, Gatorade, Crystal Light, flavored water, juice, etc) please bring at least 48 ounces with you to your exam. Water, apple juice and cranberry juice are available here for your child.

Day of your child's MRI

  • Please arrive at least 60 minutes before the time of your child’s exam.
  • If your child has trouble drinking, arrive 90 minutes before the time of your exam to allow enough time to finish the drink.
  • We will call to confirm your appointment and arrival time two days before your MRI.
  • After your child has finished the contrast, an IV will be placed to give more contrast during the MRI.
  • A numbing cream (EMLA) is available upon request for your child’s comfort. The topical cream is put on the skin about 30 minutes before the IV and helps numb the area of the skin where the IV will be placed. Please let your technologist know if you would like numbing cream for your child.
  • It is recommended that your child empty his/her bladder before going into the exam

During your child's MRI

  • Music and DVDs are available for your child during his/her exam. You are welcome to bring your iPod/MP3 player if there are songs your child prefers.
  • Your child will lay flat on his/her back on the MRI table during the exam.
  • A plastic antenna called a “coil” will be placed on your child’s abdomen to take the images for the MRI exam.
  • Your MRI technologist is able to hear and speak with your child throughout the entire exam. There is also a microphone and speakers located in the MRI so you are able to hear and speak with the technologist as well.
  • Your child will be given a ball to keep in his/her hand during the exam. If your child has a problem or is uncomfortable and needs to stop, he/she can squeeze the ball to alert the technologists.
  • When the IV contrast is given, some children experience a cool feeling or a metallic taste in their mouth. This is normal.
  • For optimal images, the contrast should stay in your child’s system. Once your child begins drinking the contrast, it is best they not have a bowel movement until after the exam.
  • Throughout the exam, your child will be asked several times to hold his/her breath. This will stop the abdomen from moving and will allow for better quality images.
  • On average, it takes about 40 minutes to complete the MRI exam.

Rev. 5/2017. This document is intended to provide health related information so that you may be better informed. It is not a substitute for a doctor's medical advice and should not be relied upon for treatment for specific medical conditions.