Questions You Can Ask as a Parent to Help Minimize Radiation Dose
Imagine that your child is sick or injured, and you take him or her to be evaluated by a healthcare provider. During the course of the evaluation of your child, the healthcare provider feels that an imaging study such as an x-ray would help to figure out what is causing the problem. You agree but wonder in your mind about the risks of radiation.
This is a likely scenario for parents of sick or injured children who are requested to submit for an imaging examinations using x-rays, computed tomography (CT – commonly referred to as a “CAT” scan), nuclear medicine, or fluoroscopy. The Department of Radiology at Cincinnati Children’s takes radiation safety very seriously and is committed to minimizing radiation exposure. Our commitment is demonstrated through our active support of Image Gently® (an organization created to improve radiation safety in pediatric patients) and implementation of state-of-the-art equipment and new techniques designed to improve image quality while reducing radiation dose exposure.
Related Articles: Using Better Radiologic Techniques to Look at Infants with Lung Abnormalities, Improving Fluoroscopic X-ray Equipment for Pediatric Imaging, and Shielding in Radiology, for the Safety of Our Patients and Families.
Radiation dose reduction is a team effort with the radiologists, technologists, and support personnel of the Department of Radiology working together with healthcare providers and patients to ensure that appropriate exams are performed to answer particular questions. Certain imaging types such as ultrasound and MRI do not use radiation and may be able to answer the same questions as those types using radiation.
As a parent and advocate for your child’s safety, there are several questions that you can ask when a test using radiation has been requested.
- Is the test necessary?
- Can previous imaging tests (if any) answer the question?
- Can other types of imaging such as ultrasound or MRI be used instead?
- Is the imaging facility familiar with imaging children?
You can rest assured that if the test is necessary, prior imaging cannot be substituted, and ultrasound or MRI cannot answer the question, Cincinnati Children’s is uniquely qualified to provide imaging for your child at the lowest radiation dose possible.
For additional information and to review source material: RSNA Radiology info for patients
Contributed by Dr. Preston Roberts and edited by Glenn Miñano, BFA.