Why do healthcare providers order magnetic resonance imaging(MRI) for evaluating childrenfor child abuse injuries?
Magnetic resonance imaging is a very sensitive test for detecting soft tissue injuries and infarctions secondary to child abuse injuries. MRI offers greater detail and clarity than CT. If a CT study is questionable, MRI identifies more subtle injurious pathology. MRI is also very useful when neurological symptoms are more severe than that clinically correlated to CT scan. It is also a useful study to identify ligamentous injuries, especially when injury to the child's neck is strongly suspected.
Drawbacks of MRI include prolonged scanning time and necessity for sedation in young children. MRI is a very useful study during the post-injury phase approximately 3 days through 1 month later.