Imagine that a doctor prescribes your child to undergo a computed tomography or magnetic resonance imaging. Most likely, you are, first of all, thinking about the possible risks: will this or that research harm the children's organism? How will the child take them?
Is there a danger?
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is an absolutely safe method of research, since it does not use ionizing radiation sources. There is no reason to worry about the hypothetical harm to the child from this type of diagnosis. When conducting computed tomography (CT), X-rays are used, so the concerns of the parents are well founded. But in the medical organizations of the Moscow Department of Health, special pediatric research protocols are used, which allow reducing the radiation dose to the minimum harmless values. Therefore, this procedure does not have any negative impact.
Is it possible to replace a CT scan with a safer MRI?
MRI and CT are two different methods of radiation diagnosis, which are not always interchangeable. They give different information about the state of health, so the question of what kind of research to conduct a child is decided directly by the attending physician or radiologist. The greatest harm to health is caused not by a microdose of X-rays, but by insufficient diagnostics.
Is it necessary to give children anesthesia during CT and MRI?
During CT and especially MRI, it is very important that the child remains stationary throughout the procedure; otherwise, the results will not be accurate or not suitable for analysis. The MRI procedure takes an average of 20-30 minutes, which means that the child will have to lie motionless all this time. As practice shows, children 5-6 years and older do an excellent job with this task. But earlier patients are difficult to maintain immobility.
For children under 3 years old, CT and MRI are performed only in a hospital, under the supervision of specialists. Before the study, the child is given a sedative or mild inhalation anesthesia, after which he wakes up quickly and easily.
CT and MRI with contrast enhancement
To diagnose some diseases, a child may need to have a CT scan or MRI with a so-called contrast - and you should not be afraid of this study. Before the procedure, the doctor will carefully collect anamnesis and find out all about possible contraindications. For greater safety, a study with contrast enhancement in children is carried out only in hospitals.
Where will my child be taken for CT and MRI?
According to the order of the Moscow Department of Health, the routing of children on CT and MRI in hospitals is carried out in accordance with the assignment by the district. That is, depending on the CT scan centre in which you are monitored, you will be assigned a referral to one or another institution.
In most cases, children under 3 years old are sent to inpatient medical organizations for CT and MRI. This is due to the need to introduce anesthesia for the success of the study. Children over 4 years old can undergo an outpatient study.