You are told that your child requires radiology exams, and both of you are anxious - understandably so. Your child may bring along a comforting item as long as there is no metal attached, and parents are allowed in the exam room with their child during most procedures. Exceptions include pregnant mothers (except ultrasound) and parents with certain metal implants (MRI only) as well as when a child is sedated by anesthesia or during interventional procedures. However, please do not bring other siblings to the appointment since they are not allowed in the exam room and children must be supervised in the waiting areas.
At Charlotte Radiology, your children will receive exceptional care from a group of skilled professionals specifically trained in the care of children. Charlotte Radiology also participates in the "Image Gently" campaign, which strives to increase awareness of the opportunities to lower radiation dose in pediatric imaging. In addition, Charlotte Radiology is accredited by the American College of Radiology, which regulates radiation dose standards.
Meet our Team of Pediatric Radiologists:
X-ray This procedure is painless and usually fast. It does not require special preparation. However, your child will need to remain still against the image recording plate. Your child will also be asked to wear a lead apron to limit radiation exposure. After your child is correctly positioned, the technologist will leave momentarily to activate the x-ray machine.
CT Computed Tomography (CT) are special x-ray tests that offer greater clarity than a regular x-ray. The CT machine looks like a large doughnut with a narrow table. The technologist will position your child on the table and slowly move the table into the center of the "doughnut." Depending on age, developmental level, or length of exam, sedation or anesthesia may be administered by a nurse. Your child will need to remain still throughout the exam. This exam typically takes no longer than 10 minutes. For some scans, your child may also be asked to drink a special liquid or may be injected with contrast to aid in visualization.
Fluoroscopy This procedure uses x-rays to capture internal organs in motion, allowing the radiologist to observe the functioning and anatomy of your child's organs. Preparation varies depending on the exam, from an empty stomach and intestines for an Upper Gastointestinal Exam (UGI) to no preparation for a Pediatric Voiding Cystourethrogram (VCUG). Be sure you understand the preparation instructions well in advance of the appointment.
Ultrasound This simple and quick procedure uses sound waves to image soft tissue and internal organs. The technologist will apply a warm clear gel to the area of the body being studied and then press a handheld device, called a transducer, on the area. Ultrasounds do not require any preparation, unless it is of the abdomen or pelvic area; these exams require your child to drink fluids and/or not eat for a certain amount of time prior to the exam. Your child may eat after the ultrasound.
MRI Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) involves passing radio waves through a powerful magnetic field and then mapping and converting the differing frequencies of radio waves produced by the body's structures into digital images. NOTE: Radio waves are not the same thing as radiation.
The first dedicated pediatric MRI unit in North Carolina is located at Levine Children's Hospital and operated by Charlotte Radiologist physicians. The facility is family-oriented and has a playroom in the reception. This exam typically takes 45 minutes, but the time varies depending on the part of the body being studied. Please contact your MRI facility if your child has any metal internally, such as metal ear implants. Contrast may be administered via IV before the procedure. During the exam, your child will lie very still on an exam table, which slowly moves into the magnetic scanner. Depending on age, developmental level, or length of exam, anesthesia may be administered. The technologist will leave the room during the exam, but your child will still be able to talk to him or her.
Orthopedic Injections These injections are minimally invasive and can be used as a contrast tool by enhancing the visualization of structures and evaluating the joints (arthrography) or as a therapeutic tool to determine and relieve your child's source of pain (nerve root blocks and facet injections).
Nuclear Medicine Scans This branch of medical imaging uses small amounts of radioactive material, or radiopharmaceutical, to evaluate body anatomy and function. Generally, the radiation exposure is minimal, similar to that resulting from x-rays. Charlotte Radiology performs many nuclear medicine procedures. Depending on the type of nuclear medicine exam your child is undergoing, the radiopharmaceutical is either injected into a vein, swallowed or inhaled as a gas. If the radiopharmaceutical is given intravenously, your child will feel a slight pin prick when the needle is inserted. When swallowed, it has little to no taste. If inhaled, your child should feel no differently than when breathing room air.
PET/CT Imaging Positron Emission Tomography (PET/CT) is a non-invasive type of nuclear medicine exam that uses small amounts of radioactive material, called radiopharmaceutical, to diagnose or treat various diseases. Before the exam, the radiopharmaceutical is injected into a vein; your child will feel a slight pin prick. The radiopharmaceutical generally takes 30 to 60 minutes to accumulate in the organ or area of your child's body being studied. During this time, your child will be asked to rest quietly, avoiding movement and talking. Once the contrast is absorbed, the technologist will take your child to the PET scanner. This scan takes about 45 minutes.
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Carolinas Medical Center Facilities:
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