prepare for your visit
A physician referral is required for all imaging. Walk-in visits are available for x-ray orders; for all other medical imaging, an appointment is required.
For all visits, please bring:
- Your insurance information
- Your physician order (if you have a hard copy)
- Your driver’s license
- Any required forms from your school, state or outside agency
medical imaging frequently asked questions
if my doctor orders a CT scan, should I let my child have it?
Like any medical test, the beneficial information gained from the test should outweigh the risk of having the test performed. CT is a very powerful and valuable imaging technique that can provide important and even lifesaving information. Sometimes, however, imaging tests like ultrasound and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) may provide the same information as CT but not expose your child to any radiation. You should ask your doctor and imaging provider whether these alternatives are appropriate for your child’s situation. If a CT is the best test, make sure that your imaging provider uses appropriate low dose techniques to minimize radiation exposure during the test.
how can I be sure that my medical imaging facility is using appropriate reduced radiation techniques?
Some facilities that perform CT scans on adults do not use radiation dose reduction techniques when scanning children. You won’t know unless you ask, and it is reasonable and within your rights to do so. Your imaging provider should be able to provide you with information about what they do to reduce radiation doses during CT. Other things to ask about include whether the facility has American College of Radiology accreditation, whether the CT technologists are credentialed and if the person interpreting the studies is a board certified radiologist or pediatric radiologist.
is there an increased risk of cancer from medical radiation, especially CT scans?
While no one can point to a single individual and say that their cancer was caused by medical radiation, there is evidence that exposures to radiation levels found during CT scans may slightly increase the risk of future cancer. The risk for developing cancer is debated and variable, and may be zero, but estimates also range from about one in 500 to one in 10,000 fatal cancers from a single CT scan. This needs to be interpreted against the risk of developing cancer over one’s lifetime. Since the risk of developing cancer in an individual is about one in five during a lifetime, the extra risk from CT is very small.
who should I talk to about my medical imaging concerns?
Any discussion should start with your child’s physician. They will know or can inquire if the imaging center to which they refer utilizes appropriate pediatric CT scanning techniques and if a non-radiation imaging test might be as useful for your child’s situation. If not, you should ask to speak with the technologist or radiologist at your imaging facility so that your concerns and questions can be answered.