Does my child need to drink oral contrast for the MRE?

For a successful MRE exam, a nurse will give your child an oral contrast (safe dye that helps imaging pictures show up clearer) liquid to drink about an hour before their MRE. The oral contrast has a lemon lime flavor. They will drink this after they check in at the hospital. This is the most important step.

The amount of contrast your child will drink depends on their weight. Check the chart below to see how much oral contrast your child will drink:

A graph showing how much oral contrast a child needs to drink before their MRE, based on their weight
This graph shows how much oral contrast your child needs to drink before their MRE, based on their weight.


Before your child's MRE

  • The Pediatric Imaging team will call you to confirm your child’s MRE appointment and arrival day.
  • If your child has allergies, please let the Pediatric Imaging team before and at the time of the MRE.

Day of your child's MRE

  • Please arrive at least 60 minutes (1 hour) before the time of your child’s exam. If your child has trouble drinking, arrive 90 minutes (an hour and a half) before the scheduled MRE time to give your child enough time to finish the oral contrast.
  • After your child has finished the contrast, an IV will be placed to give an intravenous contrast during the MRE. IV contrast is another type of safe dye that helps imaging pictures show up clearer. It is okay if your child feels nervous, scared or cries. The pinch from the IV will be over quickly.

During your child's MRE

  • Your child will lay flat on their back on the MRE table. The MRE technologist (person who does MRE exams) will place a plastic antenna called a coil on your child’s abdomen (belly area). The coil helps the MRE machine take the images.
  • The MRE technologist and your child can hear and speak with one another throughout the MRE.
  • Your child will be given a ball to keep in their hand during the MRE. If your child has a concern or is uncomfortable and needs to stop the MRE, they can squeeze the ball to alert the technologists.
  • When the IV contrast is given, some children experience a cool feeling in their hand or arm or a metallic taste in their mouth. This is normal.

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.