Pediatric radiology covers a wide range of uses. From broken bones to dental exams to chronic conditions, it’s arguably one of the most important advancements in medical history. Even more impressive, the improvement hasn’t stopped there. Pediatric radiology has made multiple advancements over time, many of them in the past few years, including lower exposure techniques and non-invasive imaging.
One of the most influential advancements in pediatric radiology is the use of ionizing radiation. According to a 2021 article by Imaging Technology News, radiation is a big factor in medical imaging for children. Because their organs are still developing, they are more sensitive to radiation, and can develop illnesses, including leukemia or brain and thyroid cancer, if exposed to too much of it. To combat exposure, medical professionals use computed tomography, fluoroscopy, and the x-ray. All three imaging procedures use a form of ionizing technology which allows doctors to diagnose patients non-invasively. These life-saving advancements are incredibly useful, however, over time and with cumulative exposure, radiation is still a concern, according to the article.
In 2019, Business Wire wrote about a recently approved FDA technology that reduces the dose of radiation to pediatric patients while still producing a clear image. The S-Vue, produced by Samsung, “reduced x-ray dose up to 45% for pediatric abdomen exams, 15.5% for pediatric chest exams, and up to 27% for pediatric skull exams.” S-Vue uses noise-reducing technology to produce these clear images. As if this wasn’t extraordinary enough, Samsung also released an updated version of the S-Vue for adults earlier this year, said Design and Development Today.
For the smallest patients, a new MRI system recently became approved just last year and is being used in Yale New Haven Children’s Hospital, and hospitals around the world, according to Forbes. The Embrace Neonatal MRI System accommodates newborns and infants for clear images while not moving the tiny patient, who may be in critical condition, to different parts of the hospital. According to their website, the Embrace is the first FDA approved neonatal MRI system for exclusive use inside NICUs for newborns.
In addition to technologies used for newborns, ultrasounds have become advanced as well. Usually, an ultrasound is the first record of a new life, producing that fuzzy, albeit beautiful image of a parents’ child. However, ultrasounds are used for many more reasons. According to Forbes, the ultrasound has gotten a bit of an upgrade, including 3-D and 4-D technologies, and an ultra-doppler advancement technique, among other innovations. According to the article, ultrasound elastography is a technique used to detect different stages of liver fibrosis. This technology reduces the need for young patients to undergo a biopsy where sedation and anesthesia may be required.
While the reason for these technologies may not be our favorite thoughts, it is a comfort and an uplifting notion that the innovators, scientists, and medical professionals behind these machines are working hard to help the youngest among us and to reinforce the idea that we are truly here to help one another.