What Parents Need to Know about Summer Injuries and Radiation from X-rays

New York, NY—July 6, 2010

Who:  Dr. Helene Pavlov, Radiologist-in-Chief at Hospital for Special Surgery in New York, a leader in treating children and adults for bone, joint, muscle and tendon injuries, is available to discuss summertime bumps and bruises in children and what parents should understand about radiation safety regarding X-rays and other types of imaging.

What: With summer upon us children will be out in force running, playing their favorite sports, riding bikes and having fun with their friends. As much fun as these activities can be, injuries can sometimes occur, sending children to their local hospital’s emergency department for X-rays, CT scans and more.

Recent media coverage about high levels of ionizing radiation associated with the frequent use of CT (computed tomography) scans has heightened fear and concern among parents regarding radiology and imaging. Dr. Pavlov can discuss the important safety protocols and procedures that parents should take into consideration when their children need imaging for possible fractures.

Four Things to Keep in Mind: 

Less is Best
Children are still growing and their bodies are more susceptible to the effects of ionizing radiation – the less ionizing radiation the better. Parents should ask if the center emphasizes ALARA, the acronym for “As Low As Reasonably Achievable” with regard to ionizing radiation exposure.

Talk to the Doctor
Before agreeing to an imaging examination, Dr. Pavlov suggests parents ask what the doctor suspects is the problem and whether there is a non-ionizing radiation imaging examination and expertise available, such as an MRI or an ultrasound examination that could be substituted for the specific condition clinically suspected.

Make Sure Shielding is Practiced
Ensure that the radiology technologist shields the child and confines the area being exposed. It is okay to ask if the technique being used has been adjusted to the size of the child.

Inquire About Repeat Rates
Ask about the center’s repeat rate, or how often an image needs to be repeated because of excessive motion, incorrect positioning or improper technique. If it is high, parents may want to choose a different imaging center for their child’s examination. It is also wise to inquire about the number of pediatric patients seen. The higher the percentage of children, the more experience the team has in acquiring the image correctly on the first try.

About Hospital for Special Surgery Department of Radiology and Imaging
Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS) Department of Radiology and Imaging has the largest and most experienced academic musculoskeletal radiology faculty in the world, each with academic appointments at Weill Cornell Medical College. HSS radiologists are board-certified by the American Board of Radiology and have received numerous awards by honor and professional societies, including the Consumer's Research Council of America Guide to America's Top Radiologists. The Department's focus is diagnosis of musculoskeletal conditions and diseases and their treatment utilizing image guidance. More than 200,000 musculoskeletal examinations are performed annually, of which approximately 150,000 exams are conventional radiography, 24,000 Magnetic Resonance (MR), and 12,000 Ultrasound (US) examinations.  Other modalities include Computed Tomography (CT), Nuclear Medicine (NM), and Teleradiology.  All images are acquired digitally and transferred to the referring physicians via PACS.

HSS Radiologists are committed to excellence and under the direction of Dr. Helene Pavlov, Radiologist-in-Chief, emphasize that diagnosis depends on quality image acquisition and expert interpretations and that “all images and imaging are not created equal." For more information on the Department of Radiology and Imaging at Hospital for Special Surgery, contact 212-606-1132 or send an email to info@imaging.hss.edu.

About Hospital for Special Surgery
Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS) is the world’s leading academic medical center focused on musculoskeletal health. HSS is nationally ranked No. 1 in orthopedics and No. 3 in rheumatology by U.S. News & World Report (2017-2018), and is the first hospital in New York State to receive Magnet Recognition for Excellence in Nursing Service from the American Nurses Credentialing Center four consecutive times. HSS has one of the lowest infection rates in the country. HSS is an affiliate of Weill Cornell Medical College and as such all Hospital for Special Surgery medical staff are faculty of Weill Cornell. The hospital's research division is internationally recognized as a leader in the investigation of musculoskeletal and autoimmune diseases. HSS has locations in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.


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