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Diagnostic Imaging and Radiology

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MRI Provider with Patients

Common Questions for Imaging and Radiology

Scheduling an exam for your child? Here are some common questions (and answers) we hear from parents.

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The Division of Diagnostic Imaging and Radiology has a team of expert physicians, board-certified pediatric radiologists, technologists, anesthesiologists and nurses who are specialty-trained to provide pediatric radiology services for infants, children and adolescents. Services are offered at the main hospital, as well as outpatient imaging at the Montgomery County Outpatient Center.

Imaging and Radiology Services

We provide the highest level of care in the safest possible environment for your child. Though radiology exams for adults and children generally share the same name, pediatric patients require a different approach.

Our patient and family-centered facility has the most advanced radiology equipment in an environment designed for children, and our pediatric radiologists use the lowest radiation dose possible to obtain excellent image quality.

Our equipment is state-of-the-art and includes a wide bore 3 Tesla MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scanner with a larger opening to help make patients more comfortable. Our dual-head gamma camera and SPECT/CT scanner offer high resolution molecular imaging scans that allow for more precise diagnosis. The Elsie and Marvin Dekelboum Family Foundation Molecular Imaging Center (MIC) also has the ability to perform diagnostic CT scans on the same scanner used to perform molecular imaging scans, which helps decrease sedation time for patients needing scans in both of these and eliminates the need to transport your child while he or she is sedated.

In addition to this technology, the MIC has advanced imaging software that performs multimodality fusion of molecular imaging data with CT and MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) studies, as well as 3D rendering and tracking over time.

Children’s National also has the gold standard for functional brain imaging. The technology allows for faster scans while still generating high quality, detailed images, particularly valuable for our small patients. Our imaging and radiology services include:

  • CT scan (computerized tomography)
  • Cardiac imaging
  • DEXA-scan (bone scan)
  • Diagnostic X-rays
  • Fetal MRI and ultrasound
  • Fluoroscopy
  • MRI
  • Neuroimaging
  • Nuclear medicine
  • Orthopaedic imaging
  • PET scan (positron emission tomography)
  • SPECT/CT scanner
  • SPECT dual-head gamma scanner
  • Rheumatology imaging
  • Ultrasound 

An Environment Dedicated to Children

Our Elsie and Marvin Dekelboum Family Foundation Molecular Imaging Center and PULSE Center offers the most cutting-edge molecular imaging technologies in an environment designed for children. The rooms have been designed with an ocean theme to help comfort and calm young patients during scanning procedures, with pictures of dolphins, whales and other animals. There are also bioluminescent lights in an effort to have a calming effect on our young patients, their families and our staff.

Our Specialists

Children's National Diagnostic Imaging and Radiology offers a specialized staff, full-time Child Life Specialist and Spanish-speaking receptionist. When a procedure, such as a MRI, requires sedation, Children’s National is the only hospital in the Washington, D.C., area that guarantees your child’s anesthesia is administered by a fellowship-trained pediatric anesthesiologist at any time of the day or night. Pediatric anesthesiologists are physicians who complete training beyond the regular course of instruction for an anesthesiologist.

Children’s National also has one of the few radiology programs in the United States with physicists on staff. Our physicists confirm patient safety through careful monitoring of all equipment. A physicist supervises radiation safety on all X-ray machines, and answers parents’ questions about the radiation dose for an exam. Another physicist is solely dedicated to MRI, ensuring safe and effective application of the MRI technique.

Other members of the division’s highly skilled team include:

  • Pediatric physicians board-certified by the American Board of Radiology with additional qualifications in surgical (interventional), fetal, cardiac and neurological radiology
  • Nurses trained to care for the unique health needs of younger radiology patients
  • Technologists who know how to reduce a child’s anxiety while they perform a procedure
  • Administrative staff who ensure test results are provided quickly to your child’s physician

Nuclear Medicine Program

Children’s National has a long history of providing subspecialty care in nuclear medicine, with one of the largest volumes of pediatric nuclear medicine procedures in the country.

Children’s nuclear medicine team is comprised of world-renowned leaders in nuclear medicine, including radiologists Eglal Shalaby-Rana, M.D., and Pranav Vyas, M.D.

How Nuclear Medicine is Helpful

Nuclear medicine is sometimes a better test in the diagnosis and treatment of certain conditions compared to other imaging techniques. However, nuclear medicine scans are usually performed in combination with other imaging tests and procedures, such as MRI.

In nuclear medicine, nuclear radiologists place an energy source (a radioactive substance) inside the body, usually through an IV injection. All radioactive substances emit energy, such as gamma rays or gamma radiation. Using special cameras, Children’s technologists can take a picture of the gamma rays to see how the body absorbs, reflects and scatters the energy inside the body.

The program offers specially designed pediatric equipment, as well as nuclear medicine technologists with the expertise to safely care for smaller, younger patients. Our dedicated team obtains high-quality images using the minimum amount of radiation and sedation.

The people and personal attention are what make Children’s National unique. Nuclear medicine is non-invasive and painless, but we still make sure you and your child are assured through every stage of a procedure. You can even stay with your child during the scan.

ACR Gold Seal of Accreditation

David Wessel, M.D., Senior Vice President of the Center for Hospital-Based Specialties, is pleased to announce that the American College of Radiology’s (ACR) Commission on Quality and Safety has granted accreditation to the following diagnostic imaging programs for a three-year term:

  • MRI
  • Ultrasound
  • Computed Tomography
  • Nuclear Medicine

Attaining the ACR Gold Seal of Accreditation is an arduous process that involves submission of physician and staff credentials, safety policies, detailed quality assurance records for each scanner, radiation dose calibrations for the ionizing radiation-producing scanners and multiple samples of actual clinical images from each scanner. All data and images submitted are analyzed by a group of expert radiologists and medical imaging physicists who determine if the site meets the highest standards of quality and safety.

Diagnostic Imaging and Radiology Team