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Nurse and child MRI

5 questions to ask if your child needs an imaging exam

You may have noticed increased public awareness of radiation risks and efforts to reduce radiation exposure in medical imaging — especially in children.

As a pediatric radiologist, it is my responsibility to consider the risks and benefits of all imaging tests and keep the radiation dose as low as possible for each patient. I take this responsibility seriously and ask myself each day, “How would I tailor the test if this child was my own?”

Children’s Wisconsin has one of the nation’s leading radiology programs for children. We also participate in the Image Gently Campaign, helping to promote ways to achieve the lowest radiation exposures while maintaining high image quality. Our goal is to make sure each child receives the right test, in the right place, at the right time.

Using the lowest radiation dose

We use radiation equipment adjusted specially for children to ensure the lowest radiation dose to your child during an exam. We also review every exam before performing it and keep track of our patients’ radiation exposure over time.

We consider the benefit of a more detailed image, which can result in higher radiation exposure, against a not-so-clear image that still has good diagnostic information, but lower radiation exposure. The more information our radiologist has about your child’s symptoms, the more tailored the exam.

If your child needs an imaging exam, here are five questions you should ask your doctor:

  1. Is the radiologist specially trained to perform imaging tests for children?
  2. What steps do you take to reduce radiation exposure to my child?
  3. Will my child be scared or uncomfortable?
  4. Do the technologists know how to work with kids to get the best images?
  5. Will a doctor be there to supervise sedation if needed?

Be sure to read our answers to these important questions.