Do you have an upcoming Magnetic Resonance Enterography (MRE) scan scheduled at St. Louis Children’s Hospital? Watch this video to learn what to expect during your visit.

Know Before You Go: Kids

What is an MRE?

MRE stands for Magnetic Resonance Enterography.  During this test, an MRI machine takes pictures of the inside of your body, without even touching you! Doctors look at these pictures to see how your intestines are working.

What will happen during my MRE?

You are not allowed to have anything to eat or drink six hours before your scheduled test time.  When you arrive, you will check in with the front desk.  After registering and during the two hours before your test begins, you will be given a liquid to drink.  The liquid, called contrast, helps the doctor see the test results better.  You will have to finish your drink 30 minutes before your pictures begin to make sure enough fluid gets inside your intestines.

During the 30 minutes of waiting for the fluid to get inside your intestines, it is a good idea to walk around the department.  This helps the fluid move into your intestines.

When it is time to begin the test, a member of the care team will ask you your name and birth date then walk you and your caregiver back to the changing room.  You will have to change into hospital pajamas and your caregiver will change into hospital scrubs.

Before the pictures begin, an IV will be started to give you more contrast.

When you go into the MRI room, you will see a large tunnel shaped camera. Some kids say it looks like a spaceship or a donut. You will have the option to watch a movie or listen to music during the pictures. A helmet-like piece of equipment, called a coil, will go over your head; this is how you will see your movie.  A thick cover will go over your stomach to help the MRI machine take its pictures. It feels kind of like a weighted blanket.

When your MRI begins you will feel the table move slowly into the middle of the tunnel. Nothing inside the tunnel will touch you or hurt you. Once you’re comfortable, the technologist will need to leave the room to take your pictures. Don’t worry, you won’t be alone. You may hear the technologist talk to you through the headphones.  The technologist will also ask you to hold your breath throughout the scan.  Do your best to follow these instructions.

The MRI machine makes loud beeping and thumping noises when it takes your picture. The machine will not hurt you; this is just the sound of the camera at work! You will be given headphones to hear the movie and this will help to block out the noises of the machine. 

What is my job?

Your job is to hold very still during your pictures and let the machine do all the work. If you move, the pictures will be blurry and the technologist might need to take them again. 

Know Before You Go: Parents

Helpful Info

In most cases, one caregiver is able to be present in the MRI room with approval from a technologist.  You and your child will need to remove all metal (including jewelry and glasses) and change into hospital pajamas or a gown. This is to ensure that all clothing material is safe to go into the MRI scanner. The scan will take about 45 minutes.

Parent Role

You can help your child stay calm and relaxed by remaining calm yourself. If you are approved to go into the MRI room, you may be able to sit next to the bed with your hand resting on your child’s legs. This simple touch can comfort and reassure your child that he/she is not alone. It is natural for you to want to talk to your child during the scan; however, he/she will be unable to hear you due to the loud noises of the MRI. If your child is having a difficult time coping, the technologist can provide verbal reassurance through the headphones. 

Important Notes

If you would like more specific information about your child’s scan or would speak to a child life specialist to discuss your child’s coping during this appointment, please call 314.454.6139.  The technologist completing the exam can also page Child Life the day of your appointment for additional support.

Practice Tips

  • Talk to your child about going to the hospital to get pictures taken of his/her body
  • Have your child practice lying as still as a statue. Use a timer to see how long they can lay still; increase the time as your child is successful. 
  • Listen to MRI noises on YouTube