Computed Tomography (CT or CAT) Scan

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CT, or computed tomography, is a non-invasive procedure that uses x-ray equipment and powerful computers to create detailed, cross-sectional images of your child's body.

A CT scan is:

  • Fast - Most CT scans are performed in seconds, although it can take 10 minutes or longer to position the child correctly for the exam
  • Painless - no part of the CT scanner ever touches the child
  • Incredibly accurate - it can provide more detailed images of bone, tissue, and blood vessels than conventional X-rays
  • Often the imaging modality of choice during emergencies because it provides vital information quickly
  • Interpreted by a pediatric radiologist or pediatric neuroradiologist and the results are reported to your child's physician, usually within 24 hours.

How Boston Children's Hospital approaches CT scans

Computed Tomography (CT) at Boston Children's Hospital is dedicated to putting children of all ages at ease, as you'll see from the whimsical décor of our Fenway Park and beach-themed CT rooms in Boston and our skilled and child-centered staff at all locations. We are experts at keeping children comfortable and we encourage parents to be in the room during the scan. In addition, our powerful multidetector scanners minimize exam time, often eliminating the need to sedate your child.

Because CT technology uses ionizing radiation, we adapt our equipment and protocols to keep doses "child-sized." We work hard to keep doses as low as possible without compromising the image quality needed to make a correct diagnosis.

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Department of Radiology

The future of pediatrics will be forged by thinking differently, breaking paradigms and joining together in a shared vision of tackling the toughest challenges before us.”
- Sandra L. Fenwick, President and CEO
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