Free-breathing unsedated MRI in children: Justification and techniques

Sara Janos, Gary R. Schooler, Jennifer S. Ngo, Joseph T. Davis

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


One of the more common and important challenges in the imaging of children is minimizing image degradation caused by motion. This is especially important in MRI, which is often preferable in the pediatric population due to better tissue characterization and lack of ionizing radiation. However, due to the length of time needed for most examinations, MRI is among the most sensitive to disruption by patient motion. Traditionally, deep conscious sedation or general anesthesia was the most common method of reducing motion in children who are unable or unwilling to follow direction. As the drawbacks and risks of anesthesia in children become more known and accepted, the development and optimization of means of mitigating motion and anxiety in children without the use of sedation or anesthesia becomes more urgent. In this article we describe the risks of sedation in the pediatric population and explore current methods of reducing both patient anxiety and imaging degradation from motion in the unsedated, free-breathing child. Level of Evidence: 5. Technical Efficacy: Stage 5. J. Magn. Reson. Imaging 2019;50:365–376.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)365-376
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Magnetic Resonance Imaging
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • motion artifact
  • pediatric
  • sedation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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