Goggles used on MRI to avoid sedation

April 4, 2012 10:14:58 AM PDT
Move over meds, and bring on the movies.

Imagine being stuck inside a tight, confined, cylinder-shaped machine for up to an hour. Your face just inches from the capsule. You're told you have to be perfectly still while the machine takes its images or you'll have to do it all over again. Now imagine explaining this to a 10-year-old.

New technology is making a once-dreaded trip through an MRI machine into a big hit with young patients.

Luke Sheldon spends his free time practicing for the big screen.

"I really want to be an actor. I don't know if it comes naturally, but it just feels great to be on stage," he said.

But it's a small screen that's got him and his brother talking.

"I just told him they have these goggles that project like you're in a movie theater," Luke said.

"I was going to go in two more weeks. I was really excited," said Josh Sheldon .

The boys are two of the newest patients to try out MRI Movie Goggles, an alternative to sedation. Both have the spinal condition spina bifida occulta. In the past, they took medication to help them stay still during an MRI. The meds are a popular option for people who would otherwise have to hear this while inside the machine.

"He just had a reaction, you know, he cried and carried on. He said I was a bad mother, it was horrible, absolutely horrible," said mom Dawn Sheldon.

But this system, complete with headphones and goggles, shuts out the noise and allows kids to watch DVDs during the procedure.

"For a CAT scan, for example, where radiation is involved we want to do this once and be done," said Alex Daneshmand, DO, FAAP, pediatric critical care physician and medical director for pediatric sedation service, The Children's Hospital of Southwest Florida.

"We've had as young as 4- and 5-year-olds use the goggles, which is pretty amazing for them to hold still for sometimes 20-minute exams up to an hour, hour and a half," said Heather Haddock , registered nurse.

Saving time and repeat tests, while making a routine procedure something to look forward to.

Since using the goggles, some specialists say they've seen the number of children completing their scans without sedation double. Some hospitals also offer the movie goggles to adults.