Pediatric Imaging at VCU Health
A caring approach to medical imaging for children
The VCU Health Department of Pediatric Radiology provides a full range of imaging services for infants and children of all ages, including newborns, as well as pregnant women. At the Children’s Hospital of Richmond (CHoR) and VCU Health, we are the most specialized in the region with dedicated pediatric imaging equipment (MRI, CT, Ultrasound, Fluoroscopy) and highly trained, pediatric-dedicated support staff.
Knowing that unusual sounding machines and medical devices can cause anxiety in children, we bring a compassionate and caring approach when working with kids. Our pediatric facilities feature imaginative décor and artwork, and we make use of age-appropriate distraction techniques including video goggles and interactive displays to foster a child-friendly and welcoming environment. Our Pediatric Radiology team also includes Child Life Specialists (CLS) who help children and their families cope with the anxiety and fear associated with certain radiology procedures. The CLS staff assist with preparation, language, distractions, parental involvement and teaching approaches prior to and during a child’s procedure.
On top of their formal medical education and residency training, VCU Health Pediatric Radiologists have completed additional years of subspecialty training in pediatric radiology, neuroradiology (imaging of the nervous system) and received their fellowship training from some of the most highly respected programs in the country including Boston Children’s Hospital and the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP).
Our pediatric radiologists and technologists use the latest equipment when providing non-invasive imaging studies and image-guided procedures, including:
- CT scan (uses low-dose radiation to create “slices” of solid organs and systems)
- MRI (uses a strong magnetic field to create images of the body; best for seeing inside of soft organs)
- Fluoroscopy (live, moving x-ray; often used during medical procedures)
- Sonography (uses sound waves to capture real-time images and movement of internal organs)
Your child’s safety and comfort is our priority. Some pediatric imaging studies – CT scans – require the use of low dose radiation. We have incorporated child-specific imaging protocols and use specialized imaging software to minimize radiation doses while enhancing image quality. We regularly monitor our pediatric CT radiation doses and report to the American College of Radiology for quality assurance. Our radiation doses are at the lower-end of reporting hospitals and similar to larger, free-standing children’s hospitals.
There may be occasions when an infant or toddler, or a patient with coexisting medical conditions, may have difficulty staying still and remaining cooperative while undergoing an imaging procedure. When required in such cases, sedation or anesthesia is provided by dedicated, subspecialty trained pediatric anesthesiologists.
Fetal MRI – a highly specialized service
Fetal Magnetic Resonance Imaging, or Fetal MRI, is a non-invasive, non-radiation imaging technique that offers detailed information about the anatomic structure of a fetus. Fetal MRI is performed as a complement to, rather than as a replacement for, ultrasound studies performed in the OBGYN’s office; and is tailored to address the specific questions and concerns of the referring physician. For example, if there is a suspected fetal brain or spine abnormality identified by an ultrasound, a fetal MRI can be helpful to confirm and further characterize the finding, as well as look for other possible brain abnormalities.
Fetal MRI is safe and uses “ultra-fast” MRI sequences to capture images of the fetus. MRI does not utilize ionizing radiation; and there is no evidence that the use of MRI during pregnancy has any detrimental effects on the fetus. The use of MRI during pregnancy is considered standard of care by the American College of Radiology. For more information on Fetal MRI, please contact the Department of Pediatric Radiology.
Pediatric Radiology Team
Joo Cho, M.D.
Children’s Hospital of Richmond
Gregory Vorona, M.D.
Children’s Hospital of Richmond
Contact pediatric radiology to make an appointment at (804) 828-2467.