The benefits of medical imaging are abundant. Medical imaging can help us diagnose an illness without invasive, uncomfortable procedures. However, there are some innate risks associated with medical imaging, namely exposure to radiation. As a parent, the risk of radiation may pose aversion. You probably want to know the steps your radiologist will take to ensure your child has a safe, positive experience. Here are some ways radiologists work to improve the safety of children and radiology.
Medical imaging offers a non-invasive alternative to surgical procedures. When caring for children, doctors work with the parents and the child to decide on a course of treatment. MRIs are a good option for children, as they don’t use ionizing radiation to retrieve an image.
Find a doctor or radiology professional accredited by the American College of Radiology (ACR. Accreditation in American radiology facilities ensures a higher standard of image quality as well as proper monitoring of radiation exposure and ongoing overseeing of safety.
Some imaging exams don’t use radiation. Both ultrasound imaging and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) do not involve ionizing radiation. In appropriate situations, pediatric radiologists may recommend an MRI as the safest procedure for a child.
X-rays are the most common form of medical imaging. X-rays use relatively low levels of radiation, but can still pose a risk. X-rays are particularly helpful for imaging bones and tissues, making it a common choice for broken arms, twisted ankles and other injuries common in younger people. A child may be asked to wear a lead apron to decrease radiation exposure during the procedure.
Studies have shown that it’s effective and safe to use child-sized doses of radiation when administering medical imaging to children. Radiologists often refer to this as the ALARA principle because they are working to keep radiation exposure “as low as reasonably achievable.” A radiologist may use up to 50% less radiation for a child than he or she would for an adult.
The “Image Gently” Campaign
Devised by pediatric radiologists, this campaign aims to educate radiologists, technologists, and parents on the need to lower exposure to radiation for children during medical imaging. Another point of emphasis of the campaign drives home the fact that in medical imaging and radiation exposure for children, not all treatments should be the same.
Radiology Today reports that some cutting-edge medical facilities, doctors, and radiologists will employ “distraction” techniques involving a multi-sensory storyline that continues throughout the procedure. Everything from toys, books, and bubbles to a projector that shows videos on the ceiling. These techniques initially began as a way to reduce the amount of sedation in younger patients and allow children to have a more positive experience during their imaging procedure.
Despite the risks, medical imaging is a helpful way to diagnose and treat ailments. It’s important to find an accredited radiologist who will administer a lower dose of radiation to your child. Ask questions and make yourself present during the procedure to lessen your child’s anxiety around the procedure. For all your imaging needs, Rosetta Radiology provides patients with a comfortable environment while producing quality diagnostic images. You can schedule an appointment online today!