So You're About to Get an fMRI ...

 

What is an fMRI?

 

fMRI stands for Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging. A fMRI is a big camera that takes pictures of your brain activity. The doctor wants to see what parts of your brain activate or “light up” when you do certain things like talk or tap your fingers. There is more oxygen in the part of the brain being used, and that is what the computer can see.

 

 

Why is an fMRI important?

 

The doctors want to see how your brain is working to see if there is anything wrong.

 

 

What happens during an fMRI?

 

  • If you are coming from home for your fMRI you will wait in the waiting room and then walk or ride in a wheelchair to the fMRI camera. 

  • If you already staying at the hospital, you will go to MRI in a wheelchair or on a bed with wheels.

  • You will have to take off any jewelry before your fMRI because the machine will not work if you are wearing metal.

  • When you get to the room where your pictures will be taken, the nurse will help move you to the bed that slides in and out of the fMRI camera.

  • The camera looks like a big doughnut with a hole or open space in the middle.  Some kids say the camera looks like a spaceship. 

  • You will lay down on a long bed and the nurse will put a helmet over your head. Remember the helmet will not touch or hurt you and the nurse will always be with you.

  • The bed will slide into the hole or open space, when it is time for your pictures.

  • The bed sometimes has a cloth seatbelt, just like in a car, to keep you safe.

  • Having your pictures taken will not hurt and nothing will touch you.

  • The person who takes your picture will watch you through a window or TV screen, so you’re never alone. If you get scared or feel unsafe, you can press the button the technician gives you and they can talk to you or stop the machine.

  • A fMRI will usually take about 30-45 minutes.  The fMRI camera makes a loud noise when it takes pictures.  Some kids say it sounds like a tunnel, rocket ship or washing machine. 

  • The technician will ask you to do some tasks during your fMRI. Don’t worry…you can not mess up. Just remember to listen very carefully to the instructions. It can actually be pretty fun! Watch the slide show before your fMRI to practice.  

 

 

What is my job during an fMRI?

 

It is your job to lay still during an fMRI and listen to the instructions.

 

 

What helps during an fMRI?

 

  • Deep breathing

  • Concentrating on the tasks that the technician gives you

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