Radiology’s Role in Kids Health and Recovery: A Look at Medical Imaging & its Amazing Technology 

Little boy with mother in clinic having an x-ray checkup with pediatrician

When glimpsing within the human body became a scientific reality, it understandably led to much curiosity and commotion. It was the late 1900s, and the medical field was experiencing growth and innovation at ground-breaking speed. 

A technology that allows a view into the body? It was only the beginning. Today, advancements in both the process and machines medical professionals use have not only improved the image clarity and detail but it has made it safer, faster, and more efficient. 

X-rays for kids and other types of radiology are an important part of diagnosing health problems such as broken bones or assisting in surgery or other procedures. If your child needs an X-ray, then here’s everything you need to know about the process! 

The Emergence of Radiology and X-Ray Technology 

Let’s begin with a little history. 

X-ray technology has now existed for over a century. Early radiographs were onto glass photographic plates, and it wasn’t until 1918 that film was introduced. For the first few decades, the radiology work was performed by the doctors themselves, but in the 1920s, the Society of Radiographers was formed and the study of various imaging techniques became an entire medical field. 

As the concept and equipment improved, the technology was used to not only diagnose problems but to improve the understanding of the human anatomy, develop treatments, and better understand pathologies and recovery. 

In the 1930s, Bronchography was used to detect bronchial disease. During this time, understanding and researching the exposure effects of radium became a major concern across the industry. The 1970s is known as the golden age of radiology, as many improvements happened during that time. 

Types of Medical Imaging 

X-rays are, of course, only one type of medical imaging available today. Different types of imaging will serve different purposes depending on what might be the problem and what the physicians are looking to find out. There are two broad categories of medical imaging, those that use radiation and those that do not. X-rays, fluoroscopy, CT scans, and other exams might use radiation. Ultrasound and MRI do not use radiation. 

  • X-rays: Used for imaging of bones and dense tissues
  • Fluoroscopy: Can provide imagining on moving body parts or processes 
  • CT scan: Produces images of internal organs, bones, soft tissues

Why Might Your Child Need an X-Ray?

X-rays are a useful diagnostic tool for physicians. They provide necessary information about what’s happening inside the body. And while this is not always necessary, depending on the condition or reason for the x-ray, it can be helpful. 

Your child might need an x-ray if:

  • After a fall or injury that produces pain and swelling
  • A broken bone or the suspicion of a broken bone
  • After injury or trauma 
  • Fractures
  • Pneumonia 

Are X-Rays Safe for Children? 

Yes. X-rays use very low doses of radiation and today technicians take great precautions by using special equipment and protective gear like lead aprons. The FDA and CDC have tight regulations and recommendations on the use of pediatric imaging. 

Children generally require less radiation to produce a clear image. A trained technician and radiologist will thus adjust the ‘dose’ to a more child-size portion. The FDA has regulatory oversight of manufacturers and producers of the equipment to ensure that they meet the necessary standards to provide the lowest possible dose. 

There is heavy regulation on children’s medical imaging devices. Today, there are many ways in which the exposure is lowered without sacrificing the quality of the diagnosis. 

What You Need to Know Before an X-Ray 

Once you have spoken with the pediatrician, they will give you instructions on the X-rays and why they consider it to be necessary. Feel free to ask questions about the procedure. Here are a few questions to help put you at ease: 

  • Why is the exam being done and is it considered necessary?
  • How will it help my child or the diagnosis? 
  • Are there any alternative ways?
  • How does the clinic ensure the lowest possible dose of radiation?

Find Pediatric Treatment You Trust at Peds on Demand 

As pediatric urgent care, we see injuries like fractures and broken bones. Radiology plays a big role in the diagnosis and the road to better recovery, but it is always approached as conservatively as possible to ensure the safety of your child. 

Do you think your child might need an X-ray? Have questions about the process? Come by the clinic today.