The Department of Radiology provides a full range of imaging services for newborns, infants, children, teenagers, young adults and pregnant women at Boston Children's Hospital and our satellite clinics in Lexington, Peabody, Weymouth and Waltham. Our experienced team carries out more than 200,000 imaging studies each year, using the latest equipment and techniques specially designed or adapted for use with children.
Why pediatric radiology?
When your child needs an imaging study or procedure, you and your physician want to know that you are choosing the right test at the right time, and going to the right place.
Imaging children is challenging. Children can have a hard time holding still for an x-ray, or may be frightened by the noise of an MRI. Their smaller, growing bodies both are more sensitive to the radiation of an x-ray or CT scan and need a smaller dose of radiation in order to obtain a high quality image.
We work together with you, your child and your referring doctor to make your child's experience as safe and pleasant as possible while obtaining the best possible and most appropriate images for an accurate diagnosis.
- Kids! Our imaginative décor, knowledgeable staff and dedicated child life specialists help make your child's experience as enjoyable as possible. Learn more
- Safety: Some types of imaging studies require the use of radiation. For these exams, we rely on "Image Gently" guidelines and use equipment and techniques adapted to give only "child sized" doses for x-rays, CT scans and nuclear medicine studies. Learn more
- Pediatric sedation and anesthesia: Our skilled staff helps young children stay calm and still for imaging studies using age-appropriate distraction techniques that include video goggles, music and lighting. If your child does need sedation or anesthesia for his or her scan, it will be administered by a team of sedation nurse practitioners, nurses and anesthesiologists experienced in pediatric care.
- Organ-based interpretation: Our unique approach to pediatric radiology means that a radiologist who has specialized training in the disease or organ system being studied will review and interpret your child's images. Learn more
Our team includes pediatric radiologists, neuroradiologists and interventional radiologists—all of whom have received additional training in childhood anatomy and diseases—as well as nuclear medicine physicians, nurse practitioners, technologists, nurses and child life specialists, all experienced in helping and caring for children.
Starting on January 5, our Peabody location will begin offering MRI on Saturdays from 8am – 4pm. Saturday MRIs are also available at our Waltham location. Boston offers MRI on both Saturday and Sunday. To make an appointment at any of our locations, please call 617-919-SCAN (7226).
Cancer risk of CT scans?
A recent study in the UK found that children who get CT scans could be at slightly increased risk of developing brain cancer or leukemia. Learn more about the risk and what Boston Children's is doing to minimize it on Thriving
Advanced Image Analysis Lab
Physicians can now order three-dimensional models and fused images created from the data obtained during computed tomography (CT), nuclear medicine, and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) exams. Images produced in our new Advanced Image Analysis Laboratory can aid in diagnosis, treatment planning, patient communication and surgical intervention. Learn more.
Did you know? We're leaders in radiation safety
Two of our faculty members helped develop Image Gently guidelines so that hospitals across the country can minimize children's exposure to radiation during medical procedures.
Read about the hospital's commitment to radiation safety.
When a child comes for a radiology imaging study, there is usually an urgent question to be answered: Has her tumor shrunk in response to treatment? Is there a blockage in his urinary tract?
Now radiologists can now take the data obtained during routine imaging exams and convert it into startlingly vivid 3-D models in addition to "fused" images of organs, tissues and bones.
Harry Clark, age 10, has battled a benign but dangerous brain tumor for half of his young life. en the blood from a damaged artery pooled into a threatening pseudoaneurysm, neurointerventional radiologist Darren B. Orbach, MD, PhD, was called in to help.
Lili, age 5, was ready for her MRI. She had everything she needed: Mom, Dad, her stuffed bear Teddy, and a Barbie DVD. So she was quite happy to put on funny looking video goggles and slide into the hole of a big "doughnut" that would clang and bang for 30 minutes while taking pictures of her brain.
What Lili didn't know was that she was part of a pilot program to see if kids like her could lie still enough to undergo an MRI without sedation.
Quality and Safety
It is not necessary to use adult-sized doses of radiation to obtain high-quality images in children. That's why we calibrate our X-ray-based equipment and adapt protocols in a way that minimizes each patient's exposure.