For our pediatric patients, we use the absolute minimum amount of contrast agents and ionizing radiation possible, to acquire images from several angles and develop a cross-sectional picture of the area of interest. By using a low-dose option designed specifically for children, we ensure dosages and exposure are adjusted for smaller bodies and higher sensitivity to radiation. The greatly reduced risk associated with low-dose pediatric CT allows pediatric patients to reap the full benefits of this advanced diagnostic tool in treating injury and illness without significant health concerns. With the added capability of 3D TeraRecon imaging, our radiologists obtain more information and have the ability to reconstruct CT images into 3D models they may then view and manipulate on state-of-the-art workstations. This allows your child’s medical team to better identify abnormalities and treat him or her more safely and effectively.
Why choose low-dose pediatric CT?
Your child’s pediatrician may order a CT study for most any body part, commonly choosing this method for the head, chest, abdomen, neck, arteries and heart. At New Hartford Scanner Associates, we use the least amount of contrast “dye” possible and the lowest possible doses of ionizing radiation to ensure optimum safety for your child. This mitigates the risk of reaction as well as any concern of long-term effects associated with radiation. Contrast agents help to highlight the area of the body being imaged to provide a greater level of detail and a more accurate diagnosis for your child.
Preparing for a low-dose pediatric CT
Not all CT exams require preparation. You may be asked to help your child fast from four to 12 hours before the scan. This will include food, chewing gum, candies, etc., and all liquid including water, but is not necessary for every scan. Our staff will provide you with any instructions specific to your child’s exam, but please be sure to disclose his or her allergies, all medical conditions and medications beforehand.
For most exams, your child will likely be able to wear loose-fitting clothes as long as they don’t have metal (jewelry, hairpins, etc.), though we do provide gowns for some scans.
Some CT exams may require an oral contrast. For these exams, we will provide a fruit-flavored drink in our waiting area. Depending on the procedure, our technologist may inject a contrast agent, or “dye,” intravenously to outline certain organs and blood vessels. This injection usually feels warm and may taste metallic for a minute or two.
During low-dose pediatric CT
A CT exam at New Hartford Scanner Associates usually takes between 10 and 30 minutes, but the actual X-ray exposure time is much less than that. When your child is ready, a technologist — a parent may assist in many cases — helps position him or her on an examination table that moves smoothly into the rotating scanner. This short, doughnut-shaped scanner is open on both ends, designed to rotate around your child so he or she is not confined. It makes whirring and clicking noises during the exam. We communicate through the intercom as we operate the scanner from an adjacent room, letting your child know when to lay still or, sometimes, when to hold his or her breath.
After low-dose pediatric CT
We may ask you and your child to remain at our facility for a few hours — depending on any procedures or medications associated with the exam — to monitor for adverse reactions. Typically, however, we release your child after the scan is complete, sending his or her results to the pediatrician to discuss with you at a follow-up appointment. Some patients experience mild diarrhea from the contrast agents, but this is not cause for alarm.