What is the role of MRI in the workup of pediatric headache?

Updated: Jan 02, 2019
  • Author: J Ivan Lopez, MD, FAAN, FAHS; Chief Editor: George I Jallo, MD  more...
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MRI is generally more costly, takes longer, and may require sedation, but its superior imaging capabilities offer detailed structural definition overall. Visualization of the posterior fossa in particular is superior to that achieved with CT scanning. Gadolinium enhances MRI sensitivity of vascular lesions and those that disrupt the blood-brain barrier.

All patients who present with any features of a structural headache should undergo high-quality imaging, preferably an MRI scan with gadolinium enhancement. In less suggestive clinical situations or for parental or patient reassurance, routine MRI or high-quality CT scanning with contrast is sufficient.

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