Magnetoencephalography (MEG)

<p>Magnetoencephalography (MEG)</p>

What is MEG?

MEG is an imaging technique that maps brain activity by recording magnetic fields made by the electrical currents in the brain. It uses very sensitive magnetometers and produces a magnetic source image. MEG is:

  • Accurate and detailed
  • Noninvasive and pain-free
  • Safe, with no known side effects or radiation exposure

MEG can be a valuable tool to locate seizure sources before surgery or perform motor or sensor mapping. In addition, researchers use MEG to study the brain and brain activity, which may help lead to discoveries that will help children with autism, epilepsy and other brain disorders.

As one of the leading and largest pediatric hospitals in the United States, Texas Children’s Hospital has the expertise and experience to perform the most modern and accurate imaging tests, including MEG.

Call us to schedule an appointment: 832-824-9729 

Note: An order from your doctor is needed to make an appointment.

How do I prepare my child for a MEG?

Your doctor may ask you to make modifications to your child’s eating, sleeping or medications to prepare for an MEG. Be sure to write down and follow any directions you’re given before the appointment. If you forget or have questions, call us at 832-TC4-XRAY (832-824-9729). If your child is being evaluated for epilepsy, they must not sleep the night before the test.

Learn more about how to prepare for your child’s visit 

MEG Scanner 2


What happens during a MEG?

Preparing for the test

Before and during the test, a child life specialist can help your child relax and feel more comfortable by providing coaching and distraction tailored to your child’s developmental level. Sometimes this approach helps reduce the need for sedation.

If your child is young or unable to lie still, they may need sedation or anesthesia to help them relax or sleep. Depending on the test, sedation or anesthesia may be given by mouth, shot or IV (a needle connected to a tiny tube).

The doctor may want your child to be given contrast medicine, which helps certain body parts show up better on the image, during the test. It may be given as a drink or with an IV. If contrast is given in an IV, your child may notice a warm feeling and a metallic taste. These last only for a few moments. If your child drinks the contrast, it may have a slightly unpleasant taste that fades quickly.

If your child needs an IV, a needle will be inserted into your child’s skin to give the medicine. Your child might feel a pinch or a poke when the needle goes into the vein. We have ways to help with the pain if your child needs it. Your child may be given a brief MRI before the MEG.

Because the MEG uses a strong magnet, you and your child must not take certain items, such as implanted medical devices and braces, into the exam room.

Be sure to tell the technologist if your child has:

  • Allergies to the contrast medicine
  • Any implanted devices or braces

The test

The technologist will position your child on the MEG table, probably on their back. Three leads will be placed on your child’s head. Then your child will be moved into the MEG scanner helmet. They will need to hold very still or the scan may have to be repeated.

The MEG scanner is quiet, and your child will not have any pain or discomfort. Holding still during the exam can make some children uncomfortable.

Depending on the type of test your child is having, the bed may move into a seated position, and your child may look at a video monitor and press buttons.

If your child receives sedation or anesthesia, you can return to the exam room when the test is over. We’ll monitor your child closely until they’re fully awake. When you leave, follow any instructions about activity and dietary restrictions.

MEG Scanner 3


How do I find out results of the test?

The technologist cannot tell you the results of the test. A pediatric radiologist will analyze the images and provide a report of the findings to your child’s doctor. Your child’s doctor will then notify you of the results.