Recognizing the critical diagnostic role played by imaging, as well as rising concerns over radiation exposure to children, the physicians and staff at CHOC Children’s radiology department – the only pediatric imaging facility in Orange County – make a concentrated effort to use the lowest amount of radiation possible.
Regularly, the department uses between 50 and 70 percent less radiation than community hospitals or independent imaging centers, says Dr. Nathan Holmes, medical director, CHOC radiology. This is done without sacrificing the quality of images required for quick and accurate diagnoses.
CHOC employs the latest in imaging technology, which includes scanners with pediatric-friendly settings that use lower levels of radiation and take images more quickly before the body has a chance to move. This lessens the odds of having to redo the scan, thus doubling exposure to radiation. CHOC’s flash CT scan can complete an entire body scan in less than five seconds, which also reduces the need for anesthesia for restless children.
Further, post-processing work can repeatedly reconstruct the image to make it as clear as it needs to be to make a diagnosis. This means that images can be captured with lower doses of radiation.
Highly-trained staff and physicians also play a critical role in ensuring successful, low-dose imaging procedures. In addition to offering expertise that may allow for radiation-free imaging techniques, experienced physicians and staff can tailor the exam and its radiation levels to answer specific questions. Referring physicians can always call upon CHOC’s pediatric radiologists for guidance about what type of exam to order.
In addition, the radiology department has a dedicated child life specialist who can help support patients and families through education and distraction. A specialist’s help can ensure a faster and more efficient exam.
To learn more about the CHOC Children’s Radiology Department, please visit http://www.choc.org/radiology/ , or call 714-509-9666.