Cincinnati Children's Blog

Why Do We Protocol?

Why Do We Protocol?

What does it mean when we say “Your exam has been protocolled as an MRI of the brain with and without contrast.”

A protocol is a set of steps that one must follow to complete a task.  Here at Cincinnati Children’s, we like to refer to our protocols as gentle guidelines rather than strict rules.  After receiving an order for an MRI or CT from your doctor, the radiologist will select a protocol specifically for your child based on his or her particular medical history and symptoms.

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Although the protocol has already been chosen prior to the CT or MRI, this does not mean that it cannot be adjusted.  The CT and MRI technologists at Cincinnati Children’s continuously communicate with the radiologist throughout the scan to make any adjustments needed.  For example, the radiologist may decide to take extra pictures, add contrast imaging, or reposition your child’s body. This constant communication between the radiologist and the technologist allows us to best image your child and answer the specific questions that your doctor is asking.

Please keep in mind that because our goal is to answer the question that your doctor is asking, scans can sometimes take longer than expected.  Also, please know that when the radiologist requests additional images, this only means that he or she wants a further/better look into a particular area.  This does not necessarily mean there is something wrong.  All of these steps ensure that your child will receive the safest and most accurate exam possible.

We are continually trying to adjust our system to benefit you and your child.  Protocols designed to answer your doctor’s specific question are just one more way Cincinnati Children’s is changing the outcome of your child’s care.

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