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Imaging and Children

     

If you have opened this page first, you may find it helpful to read the Cancer/Breast Cancer page before reading the following.

The safest imaging for Children is MRI and Ultrasound as they involve no radiation exposure.

The following is a 3D Ultrasound image of a baby in a womb taken at 29 weeks.

 

At present CT and X-ray are primarily used for adult's and children's imaging. The problem with CT and X-ray is both give a radiation dose, which could cause cancer (click on Radiation and Cancer for more information).

All patients are vulnerable but particularly children as their bones are not fully formed and therefore they absorb more radiation.

State-of-the-Art systems such as MRI and Ultrasound (coupled with advanced computer technology) do not give a radiation dose, providing safe imaging which can be used to:-

1)      Scan for cancerous growths and in most types treat them without surgery using High Intensity Focused Ultrasound or other treatment systems (see Cancer/Breast Cancer for more information)


2)      Identify other diseases e.g. heart and circulatory problems.


MRI of Circulatory Flow


(Click on image to view Movie)

(Also see Cancer/Breast Cancer for image of blood vessels in the brain)

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And in complaints of abdominal pain

3)      Provide images of the abdominal organs e.g. the intestine and bowel to show if blockages, (obstruction), restriction, inflammation, or other conditions are the cause of pain.

As children are particularly vulnerable, as they often do not have the vocabulary to explain their symptoms or level of their pain, we would ask for your help in providing specialized Scanning and Treatment Units for children.


This is an MRI Scanner designed to be Child Friendly.


The whole room is an MRI Scanner, and the patient lies in the centre. It can be used for diagnosis and to provide imaging during treatments.

MRI Scanner

Your support can help to make State-of-the-Art imaging and treatment systems broadly available in the UK. (Click here to Donate or Fundraise).

 

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MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging scanner) - An MRI scanner passes a magnetic field through a person's body and this causes a type of vibration (resonance). As a result an image of their body is produced. It is particularly good for showing images of the muscles. There are no harmful effects ever recorded of this procedure, however because of the strong magnetic field it cannot be used on people who for example have metal in their body e.g. artificial hips and joints

Dictionary

Ultrasound is the name given equipment that can produce many types of sound. Different types of sound provide different types of images. For example, a Foetal Ultrasound can produce images of a baby in the womb. A Doppler Ultrasound is used to see if blood is flowing as it should, e.g. there are no restrictions in blood vessels.

Dictionary

CT - Computed Tomography This is a type of imaging which provides good imaging but also gives a radiation dose. The National Academy of Sciences has said there is no safe level of radiation dose and further their researchers said their results indicate that 1 in every 1000 people would develop cancer from a radiation dose of 10 millisievert (mSv) , the average radiation dose in a single whole-body CT scan.

Dictionary

Obstruction – Is a term for a blockage in the intestine and/or colon that can have many causes. Although anyone can get an obstruction there are three types which are more common in children.

3D imaging can identify the location of a blockage and its cause. For example, if part of the intestine becomes inflamed it can cease to function. Contents can then build up in the area preventing the passage of contents behind it. This can cause swelling (distension), bloating and further inflammation.

Swelling (distension) bloating and inflammation of the intestine and/or bowel can cause pain which can range from mild to excruciating.

Dictionary

The Bowel is also known as the colon and large intestine
image of the bowel

Front View of the Body

Dictionary

Radiation and Cancer

Medical Textbooks advice to Clinicians is:-


….as the major adverse effects of radiation exposure are the induction of cancer and genetic problems and because all radiation is harmful and as there is no safe lower threshold of radiation use alternative techniques such MRI and Ultrasound which do not involve radiation exposure…… all radiologists and referring clinicians must strive, a) to keep the radiation to the patient as low as achievable, b) to use up to date equipment c) use alternative techniques such MRI and Ultrasound which do not involve radiation exposure…


The National Academy of Sciences states, there is no safe level of radiation dose. Their researchers said their results indicate that 1 in every 1000 people would develop cancer from a radiation dose of 10 millisievert (mSv), which is the average radiation dose in a single whole-body CT scan.


Note: Most of the ionising radiation received by humans is from X-ray and CT, and imaging on these systems accounts for about 12% of radiation exposure that humans will receive during their lifetimes. Other sources such as sunlight and nuclear fallout, e.g. as the result Chernobyl, account for about only 1%.

Dictionary


     
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