Pediatricians use different tests and tools to help them diagnose and treat injuries and illnesses. This handout was written by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) to answer questions about imaging and medical radiation safety.
Q: What is imaging?
A: Imaging tests are used to "see" inside the body. Some types of imaging use ionizing radiation. This includes x-rays, computed tomography (CT) scans, and nuclear medicine (radionuclide) studies. Higher-dose radiation can also be used in therapy, for treatment of cancer, or for treatment of an overactive thyroid gland. See "Types of Imaging" for more information on 3 types of imaging tests.
Q: Why does my child need an imaging test?
A: Sometimes imaging tests are the only tests that can help diagnose certain illnesses. Your child's doctor can then find out the best treatment options, avoid other tests or surgery, and improve your child's health.
Q: Isn't radiation harmful?