MRI Scan Coming up for "Lump" on Back of Skull

Updated on February 22, 2010
D.Q. asks from De Pere, WI
10 answers

I posted a question the other day about a bone cyst on my DD's skull. Turns out, the radiologist does not believe it's bone. We're going in Wednesday for a contrast MRI and my nine year old will have to be sedated as the scan takes a couple of hours. I'm so full of questions and my ped dr is going to call me back this afternoon to answer them, but I'm still curious about other "mommy" experiences. First, sedation. What is this like for a child? My daughter has a severe phobia of needles and pointy things. She couldn't even bare to see her sister get her ears pierced! They said they will give her some "gas" before they put her IV in, but what happens when she wakes up and sees that needle in her arm? I'm also concerned about the anestesia (SP??) My younger brother is severly allergic to it, and ended up having a seizure after having his adenoids removed. I'm nervous about side effects, and to compile it, my sister works in recovery and said many children wake up very upset and can have anxiety like attacks. Any ideas on getting through this? And this lump. She has a quarter sized bump on the base of her skull. It's been there for a couple of months, and I didn't think it was a big deal (the guilt now is horrible!!). They determined that it's not bone, but what could it be? Has anyone experienced something like this? The lump is very hard and doesn't move, seems like it's attached to the base of her skull, sort of where the spinal cord meets the skull. She's had no other symptoms, hasn't even had a cold for a couple of years. Just this lump...

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answers from Indianapolis on

My prayers are with you, too.

I haven't dealt with this for one of my children, but I did find a small non-fixed lump on my collarbone after nursing my daughter one night. So, I completely understand the fear.

Here are a few suggestions based upon my own experience:

1. See what you can find out about your brother's anesthesia allergy and be very proactive in bringing it up well in advance of surgery. You should have an opportunity to speak with the anesthesiologist before the procedure.

2. STAY OFF THE INTERNET - as much good information as there is out there, the desire to know what's going on will take you down some really bad paths and create much anxiety and worry.

3. The hardest part of getting IV is them putting it in - once it's there, it's not bad, and I can't imagine your daughter will be too panicked if she sees it. Just ask them NOT to put it on the top of her hand. It hurts the most there, but the forearm (if her veins are good) has fewer nerve endings and isn't as painful.

4. Don't beat yourself up about it. It sounds like you've been diligent in trying to get answers, and you're being very diligent right now in finding out what's going on.

5. If it is something undesireable, get second/third opinions.

In my case, I had Hodgkins lymphoma (cancer of the lymphatic system) - so, that's how I know so much about IVs, where they hurt, etc. Because of one of my chemo meds, I have to be VERY careful when receiving anesthesia for the rest of my life. The internet led me to my diagnosis before the pathology report came back - that was very scary. I also sought 2 other expert opinions during my treatment and ended-up choosing not to go with my Oncologist's recommendation for completion of treatment based upon the other's recommendations. I've been clean of cancer for the past 15 months and try every day to impress upon other people to follow their instincts and be your own health advocate.

I hope this stressful time will quickly end for your family with the best possible outcome.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

As a child, I had a lot of dental surgeries that required me to be sedated and/or put to sleep. My mom told me that I would often wake up upset. (Not always, though, I guess one time I asked if I could help clean the instruments.) At the surgery center where I was, you would wake up a little and then they would help move you to the recovery room. If it helps at all, I never remember moving to the recovery room for any surgery, I don't remember being upset, and I sure don't remember asking to help clean the instruments. One time I woke up in recovery and my mom was holding me and I was crying. I had no idea why I had been crying and I don't remember them bringing my mom back. If it helps at all, I never remember being upset or being in pain/scared/crying even though I know that it all happened. I think it was just part of the anethesia. So, if she does wake up upset, she may not actually be upset or even know that she's doing it. Good luck!

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answers from Charlotte on

Hi D.,

Let me tell you what Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) did for my son. They gave him "giggle juice" (versaid) which made him relax and get a little loopy. Then the doctor asked him what flavor gas he wanted, grape or cherry. My son chose after telling the doc "You look like you have two heads!" LOL! The doc said that the meds were working! They wheeled him in the OR, gave him the gas, and he was out. THEN they gave him the IV.

My son watched cartoons on the TV the entire time we waited for the surgery. He did not want to discuss anything in the hospital. He didn't want to even interact with us - he really needed a total distraction, and I was glad they had a TV in there to help him cope. So anything you want to say to your daughter, say it before you go to the hospital, just in case she is like my son in this regard.

Regarding the issue of the IV, you have the right as a parent to demand that they give the IV AFTER they give her the gas. It was my doctor's idea in the first place, and I was so on board. Then the anesthesiologist walked in, was distracted and busy, and told me she was going to put his IV in. I told her that was not what my doctor had worked out with me - the gas came first. She told me she was busy and didn't have time for that. I told her I did not care - I didn't want him to have the IV until he was out. Period. I stood my ground. We have to be advocates for our children, and I wasn't going to be pushed around by this person I had never met. I knew my doctor would have had a fit if I had told him what she was trying to do.

So, make it easy for your daughter by discussing this issue in advance with the surgeon (not the ped) and staying with her as long as you can before going into the OR. Pat her hand, sing to her, whatever it takes to make her less stressed when coming out of the anesthesia. Ask if you can give her a popsicle - that might help.

Our prayers are with you that the answer is an easy one.

All my best,



answers from Minneapolis on

Hi D., My son had an MRI of his brain & spine three years ago. I just asked him what he remembers about it, and he told me all kinds of things - describing the room he waited & recovered in, and the MRI room, and how he was kind of wobbly & dizzy afterward, but nothing about it being scary or hurting or anything! Hopefully you are able to go to a pediatric hospital or clinic for the MRI... they are SO great at making things easier on kids. Definitely tell everyone you see (nurse, anesthesiologist, etc) about your brother's sensitivity, insist they use the numbing cream, and ask if they have a pediatric-size IV needle. And, like others have said, try to be calm for your daughter's sake - she'll be taking her cues from you!

You are both in my prayers!! Please let us know what happens.



answers from St. Cloud on

Just wanted to put in a few words about the IV. If you end up having her awake there is something called EMLA cream to numb the skin (has to sit on the spot for 30minutes or so). Also, your concern about her waking up with the needle in- the needle is gone. It gets poked into the vein and retracted, leaving a tiny plastic-like tube to let the medications flow into the vein. If it would be better to talk to her about the IV you can tell her that part...usually there is a clear dressing on top of it so you can see thru to the skin. The anesthesia makes them wake up upset and hopefully you can be there and be calm for her to be comforted at that point. Since this isn't surgery there will probably only be monitoring for the sedation.

Another note about the MRI- they are EXTREMELY loud. Please ask for earplugs for her- even if she isn't awake it is loud for her little ears.

Good luck!



answers from Omaha on

My experience with IVs, though not alot, they wrap k-flex (kinda like an ace bandage) around it, so they can't really see the needle or get to it. If you let the anesthesia person your family history, they are very good at taking precautions, and if they are aware that some of your people have had problems, they know to be aware of them. See if she can have a stuffed animal or a security item...something familiar with her so when she is in recovery, maybe that would help calm her.



answers from Evansville on

First off my prayers are with you...second off let me put in some nursing concerns for you to talk to your dr about.

If there is a family history of problems with being put to sleep you need to mentiong that to your dr.

Most children can be given some meds that relax them and they don't remember anything that happens prior to being given an iv. It makes them loopy and funny sometimes.

If you stay calm your child will not be as likely to have anxiety attacks at anytime, and make sure your having this done at a time that the nurses in recovery are used to children, most morning nurses are.

Most places now let a parent come back as soon as the child is in recovery too that helps the child not to be upset...

my 31 yr old dd has a spot like your talking about, it is just a lump they have never found out why or what but it has been there for yrs and only time it bothers her is if she brushes her hair to hard in that spot...good luck and keep us posted.


answers from Milwaukee on

Remain calm, that way your daughter can feed off of that. Guilt is a horrible thing to deal with but remind yourself that you are doing something about it now and that you need to be strong for your family.

Talk to your doctor about the anestesia, let him know about your brother, the doctor will be able to further you on that.

When daughter is waking up after all this make sure you can be in the room and once again remain very calm. Keep reassuring her that "mommy is here and if you need anything just ask mommy" answer all her questions, usually the reason why kids are angry because they do not understand what is going (getting scared then from the unknow) so help by talking her through it. "You are just waking up, it may seem a little funny and different from when you wake up from napping but you will be ok, mommy is here if you want to ask about any of the strange feelings."



answers from Medford on

First pray to the One Who knows what this is. Then work with a doctor you trust. Then realize some lumps are benign, meaning they aren't serious. Do your best, as in everything. Nine is getting big enough to be brave. My son Joshua needed stitches for a cut and was only about 4 and they wrapped his arms so he had to hold still. God bless. You will both do fine!



answers from Minneapolis on

Don't feel too bad. I kind of overlooked a lump my son had on his butt when he was 5 months old. I would touch it and squeeze it and it didn't bother him so I waited until his next check up to tell the dr. It turned out he had a cyst that was infected and needed immediate (same day) removal!! I beat myself up forever about waiting, but it wasn't bugging him so I didn't worry. Usually pain=worry right? everyone makes mistakes. You and your daughter are in my prayers. God bless!

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