Pediatric Computer Tomography (CT)
Computed tomography (CT or CAT scan), is a diagnostic medical test that, uses X-ray equipment and computers to create detailed cross sectional images of the body.
CT scans for children can be used to diagnose causes of abdominal pain, evaluate for injury after trauma, diagnose and monitor response to treatment for cancer, and diagnose and monitor infectious or inflammatory disorders. Pediatric CT scans may also be performed to evaluate blood vessels throughout the body.
At Children’s Health, our specialists in pediatric radiology and pediatric neuroradiology have advanced training and years of experience in protocolling and interpreting pediatric CT examinations. We set the standards for CT safety in the community and our technologists and radiologists work to use the lowest possible dose of radiation in order to protect your child’s health by participating and conforming to the standards set by the national program of ALARA – As Low As Reasonably Achievable – for radiation doses. Our CT scanners are certified by the American College of Radiology for image quality and radiation safety and are specifically calibrated for use in the pediatric population.
What to Expect
When receiving a CT scan, your child should wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing to the exam. He or she may be given a gown to wear during the procedure. Your child may be asked not to eat or drink anything for several hours beforehand, especially if anesthesia will be used for the exam. In addition, contrast material may be used, which will be given to your child by IV or by mouth prior to the test.
CT equipment looks like a large donut with a table that moves in and out. It is specially developed for pediatric patients and uses up to 50 percent less radiation while producing high-definition images for any part of the body.
When your child enters the CT scanner, special lights may be used to ensure that he or she is properly positioned. With our modern scanners, your child will hear only slight buzzing, clicking and whirring sounds as the CT scanner revolves around him/her during the imaging process.
Pediatric CT exams are fast and painless. No part of the CT scanner will touch your child. Our advanced equipment also means the amount of time your child will need to lie still is reduced.
Why is my child having a CT scan instead of an X-ray?
A CT scan is more detailed than a routine X-ray and is particularly useful to diagnose conditions in the brain, chest, bones, soft tissues and blood vessels.
Can I stay with my child during the CT scan?
If not pregnant, you are welcome to stay with your child. You will be given a lead apron to wear. If your child should need anesthesia for the exam you will be asked to wait in the waiting room until the exam is complete.