PET MRI (1625)

Key points below

What is a PET/MRI Scan?

A PET/MRI Scan is a special picture of the inside of your body.  It uses two ways to make these pictures: positron emission tomography (PET) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).  This is sometimes called a Scan.  The pictures help your doctor see what you need to feel better.

What do we need to know and do to get ready?

The PET/MRI uses a strong magnet. Anyone going in the exam room is checked (screened) to make sure there is no metal in their body.  They also need to remove any metal objects and change into a gown or scrubs. You and your child must remove all items that might be unsafe or affect the images.  This includes jewelry, piercings, hair pieces, medical devices and all clothing.
No pregnant caregivers are allowed to be with your child in the prep room or scanner room.
No siblings are allowed at any time during the PET/MRI.
Your child should not eat or drink anything after midnight.  If they do, the scan will need to be rescheduled.
A legal guardian or parent will need to give consent before the scan.  This can be done over the telephone.
If your child has a cold or is sick within 3 days of the appointment, please call the MRI Department at (414) 266-3180.  
If your child has diabetes, please call the MRI department for extra instructions: (414) 266-3180.• Most children being scanned without sedation do fine by themselves. If needed, one parent or guardian may come into the scan room with their child.  This person must be screened and change into scrubs.   • Someone from the imaging department will call you 2 days before the scan.

What happens when we come for the PET/MRI?

Please arrive at your scheduled time.  If you are late, your appointment may need to be rescheduled.  

The PET/MRI scanner uses a magnet.   For your child’s safety, they will need to change into scrubs or gown when they come. 

An IV will put in before the scan.  
If your child has a central line, PICC line or port, that can also be used.
Your child’s blood glucose will be checked. To safely do the PET/MRI, their blood glucose level must be below 200. 
A small amount of a radioactive material will be given in the IV. 
Your child must lie still and quiet for about 30 minutes after they receive the radioactive material.  During this waiting period, they cannot read books, play with electronic games, listen to music or watch a DVD.
After the 30 minute waiting period, we will have the child use the restroom or change his/her diaper, and then the scan will start.   
If your child is unable to hold still for the pictures, medicine will now be given to make them sleepy. 

What happens during the scan?

Your child:
will need to be very still during the exam.  
will not feel any pain. 
will hear some thumping, like a drum.    
The scanner is very noisy.  We will give your child earplugs to help.

What happens after the scan?

If your child got medicine to make them sleepy, they will be watched before they can go home.  The medicine may still make them feel sleepy or dizzy for a few hours after the scan.  Have them stay home and rest for the day.  Your child may play quiet games while resting.  They should not do things like riding a bike or climbing. 
For more information about sedation for procedures, ask for teaching sheet #1255.


Your provider will share the results with you and your family after reviewing all your child’s tests.  This may take up to one week.


Call your child’s doctor, nurse, or clinic if you have any questions or concerns or if your child has special health care needs that were not covered by this information.