CT (Computed Tomography) Scans
A CT scan combines many X-ray images to create detailed cross-sections of the body. At Riley Hospital for Children Radiology at Indiana University Health, we take pride in offering excellent care for our young patients while providing the safest and highest quality exams.
CT scans show normal and abnormal structures in the body and they help to accurately guide the placement of surgical instruments or treatments. A CT scan may be the preferred method to:
- Diagnose a source of pain caused by infections and inflammation (for example, appendicitis or pancreatitis)
- Diagnose cancer and observe the effects of treatment
- Diagnose injuries
We monitor and maintain our innovative CT scanners to ensure proper functioning and safety for your child.
Riley Radiology at IU Health has over one hundred years of combined pediatric experience. Some of our technologists have been at Riley at IU Health since we opened over 30 years ago. Every technologist is dedicated to providing each patient with individualized care because each child is different and requires special care.
Our team takes the time to go above and beyond expectations to achieve a quality exam while minimizing your child’s anxiety or fear. We accomplish this by letting your child touch the scanner and by using role-playing techniques or distraction tools. We understand every child is unique so we provide tailored care for each child.
How to Prepare Your Child
After you schedule an appointment, it is important to prepare your child for the exam. Depending on what type of exam is ordered, your child may not be able to eat or drink anything before the exam. For certain CT scans your child will need to drink a special fluid, called contrast, before the scan. We offer a variety of flavors or your child can bring a non-carbonated beverage to mix with the contrast.
In some cases, your child will need to have contrast injected. A radiology team member will advise you before the scan if your child needs an injection.
Our trained pediatric CT technologists use distraction methods to help reduce your child’s anxiety. The CT room has a projector that shines stars on the ceiling, and we offer sensory tools such as squeeze balls, music and light-up wands to help your child stay still.
You may want to watch a video created by the Starlight Children's Foundation to get an idea of how your child’s CT scan will go. This video shows the steps for the CT scan and talks about the possibility of IV contrast. Depending on your child’s age, this video may help him or her prepare for the CT scan.
Keeping Your Child Safe
The Indiana State Board of Health licenses our technologists, and they are registered with the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT). The ARRT has strict procedural and ethical guidelines each technologist must meet and follow to become a registered technologist.
All of our CT technologists are also members of the Image Gently campaign. This campaign promotes use of the ALARA principle (keeping radiation doses As Low As Reasonably Achievable). The goal is to keep your your child safe without compromising the quality of the images. We have also been certified and accredited by the American College of Radiology (ACR) for using the proper techniques.
CT dose report
As part of an ongoing internal quality improvement process, patients will see a "CT Dose" reported as a CTDI value - computed tomography dose index. This value is a measurement of CT scanner radiation output. It is calculated based on radiation measurements using a phantom.
The biological effect of the radiation depends on multiple factors including age, body size, body parts scanned, underlying diseases and genetics. The biological effect is measured in milliSievert. These measurements are based on large population studies and on standard phantom sizes. At this point of time it serves only to estimate population risk and not individual risk.
How does CTDI value serve to maintain low dose studies?
We monitor CTDI in every body CT scan performed and generate a report to ensure we maintain the principle of performing studies with as low as possible radiation. Any outliers are evaluated to improve our practice.
For More Information
You can learn more about CT scans by downloading our informational pdf.