MRI Joe Buck Imaging CenterThis is what the Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) machine looks like at the Joe Buck Imaging Center in St. Louis Children's Hospital. It’s kind of big, isn’t it?

When you first get here, you will check in at the front desk and wait until your name is called. When it’s your turn, a staff person will take you and your family back to the room where your test will be done.

We offer 3T technology which uses one of the strongest magnets available. We pride ourselves in proactively ensuring the safety of our kids, families, and staff entering the magnetic field spaces. Since the MRI machine runs on a big magnet, everyone will need to take off anything metal that they’re wearing like jewelry, glasses and keys. You can expect to be asked screening questions as well as given safe clothing to wear while close to the magnet. Our MRI Technologists are experts in MRI safety so please feel free to ask your questions about safety measures.  

Next, you’ll lie down on the table that’s attached to the MRI machine. Make yourself comfortable and relax. If you’d like, you can put on some headsets and listen to music. But you may be asked to put on a helmet-like mask that does not touch you and a seatbelt for safety.

During your test, one person may stay in the room with you to keep you company if you’d like. Once you’re settled, the table will move you into the MRI machine and music will begin to play. All you have to do is lie still and let the machine do all the work.

This is what it will look like (watch video) to you as you move into the machine. A staff person will talk to you through the headphones, asking if you’re comfortable and letting you know how much time is left before you’re finished.

You may answer any questions using words, but try not to shake or nod your head because movement will blur the pictures being taken.

While the test is happening, you may hear noises that are really loud. This is just the sound of the MRI machine taking your pictures.

During your test, you may need to have a fluid called contrast. Contrast is a fluid that helps the doctor see your insides better. If needed, you will be pulled out of the MRI machine and an I.V. will be started. Once the I.V. is started, you will go back into the MRI machine. If you already have an I.V., we will just use that.

Your MRI test may last from about thirty minutes to an hour and a half. That’s less time than your favorite movie!

When you’re done and your pictures have all been taken, a staff person will move the table out of the MRI machine, take off your helmet and seatbelt and you’ll be done!

If you have further questions or would like suggestions on how to prepare your child for an MRI test contact a Child Life Specialist at 314.454.4780.