Paediatric radiology is a very effective method of diagnosing a wide array of diseases among the paediatric populations that is from a fetus to a 21 year old young adult. This process is aided by state of the art equipment that is designed to be able to produce high quality images of the human anatomy and pathology that enables doctors to be able to detect and diagnose diseases.
The use of this equipment is highly regulated because they involve the use of ionizing radiation which if used excessively increases the risk exposure of the patient to cancer. Therefore these regulations are meant to ensure that the equipment is capable of producing adequate and uniformly acceptable images, they provide accurate radiological interpretation of the images, and they use a reasonably low radiation dose per radiograph.
In this article we’ll briefly look at the 3 commonly used equipment in paediatric radiology.
1 The Ultrasound (USG) machine
The ultrasound machine commonly referred as the USG is usually a preferred radiology machine because it’s mostly safe owing to the fact that it doesn’t emit any radiation, it’s relatively cheap, and is readily available in most health facilities. In addition to this, the USG can be used repeatedly on a patient without exposing them to any potential risks. This is also the most preferred tool for imaging infants and the fetus in the mother’s womb.
2 The Computed Tomography (CT) machine
Whereas the Computed Tomography commonly referred to as a CT or CAT, is a very effective piece of equipment when it comes to diagnosing diseases, it also comes with an added risk of radiation exposure because it uses ionizing radiation. It’s therefore a recommendation that CT scans should be done sparingly on a child and only done when absolutely necessary so that children are only exposed to very small doses of radiation. It’s also recommended that when small children are exposed to a CT scan machine, they are well insulated to reduce the risk of exposure to hypothermia.
3 The Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) machine
The Magnetic Resonance Imagine commonly referred to as MRI is another very valuable technology when it comes to diagnosing diseases but poses a number of challenges when applied in paediatric radiology. In addition to the challenge of exposure to radiation, young children may need to be sedated in order to ensure they are still enough for the MRI to produce an accurate image. Generally, MRI will only be recommended for children above 2 years.
As a general rule, paediatric radiology should only be administered when absolutely necessary in order to protect children from exposure to excess radiation which will increase their risk of contracting cancer later in life.