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Child in Xray

When a child needs an X-ray, CT scan, MRI or ultrasound, pediatric specialization matters

At Children’s Wisconsin, we talk a lot about our commitment to children, how we’re “100 percent dedicated to caring for kids and teens.” This promise takes many forms, but one that’s often not very well understood is radiology.

Radiology is the medical field dedicated to imaging, such as X-rays, CT scans, MRI and ultrasound. These techniques are used to diagnose and treat a wide variety of ailments. Children’s Wisconsin has one of the nation’s leading radiology programs for children. In fact, we were the third pediatric hospital to be recognized as a Diagnostic Imaging Center of Excellence by the American College of Radiology.

Special skills are needed to take medical images of children

Because of the unique nature of children and their developing bodies, special skills are needed to take medical images of children. The imaging staff at Children’s Wisconsin has these special skills and we are always looking for new ways to improve safety and quality.

We participate in the Image Gently campaign, which means we are committed to utilizing the lowest radiation exposure levels while maintaining high image quality. Because of our specially trained staff and kid-specific technology, we are able to get better results with fewer images and lower doses of radiation. Our radiation doses are nearly three times lower than those used at adult hospitals and our repeat rate (meaning how often we have to re-take images) are well below the national average. We also catalog every exam to track your child’s radiation exposure over time. We do this all to make sure each child receives the right exam with the lowest dose.

Questions to ask your child’s doctor

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

  • Are the radiologist and radiology tech specially trained to perform and interpret imaging tests for children?
  • What steps do you take to reduce radiation exposure to my child?
  • Do the technologists know the best way to work with kids to get the best images?
  • If sedation is needed, is the physician supervising the sedation credentialed to do so with kids?

At Children’s Wisconsin, all of the pediatric radiologists interpreting your child’s imaging studies are board certified diagnostic radiologists with additional certification in pediatric imaging. These qualifications matter as children are far from just small adults. Children have unique anatomy and illnesses that require specialized training and experience to interpret correctly. Additionally, pediatric radiologists are engaged members in the care team and frequently provide consultation with pediatricians and subspecialty care providers to help uncover a diagnosis while minimizing radiation.

Whether for treatment or diagnosis, you can rest easy knowing that the experienced radiology staff at Children’s Wisconsin is specially trained to handle your child’s needs.