Imaging With Ease

Imaging — taking "pictures" to diagnose illness or injury requires not only special equipment, but special people. Cohen Children's Medical Center makes both a priority, so even our smallest of patients can stay happy and healthy.

If your child must interact with a piece of hospital equipment, you want them to be comfortable, prepared to hold still, and able to understand the technician's instructions to ensure accurate results. The new Pediatric Imaging Unit at Cohen Children's makes that all possible by alleviating kids' common fears.

"Depending on the imaging procedure and a child's comfort level, the experience can be very different for each child," said Jeanne Choi-Rosen, MD, chief of pediatric radiology at Cohen Children's. "It takes a certain level of patience and a particular aptitude for working with kids and families. We have specialists with master's degrees in social work who communicate with children and families to help bring down anxiety levels."

Keeping Care Kid-Friendly

Children who may be new to the hospital environment get all their questions about the equipment answered.

"We realize that kids often tense up after registration, and waiting for their turn can be the hardest part," Dr. Choi-Rosen said. "We speak on their level, showing them the bright, colorful stickers that cover our machines and explaining how the machines work — all to help them feel as welcome and comfortable as possible."

X-rays, computed tomography (CT) scans, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), ultrasounds, fluoroscopies and nuclear medicine are all available. MRIs can be time-consuming, so lively children may feel unsure about entering the long imaging tube by themselves. The Cohen Children's imaging team is prepared for patients who might be nervous and encourages them to ask any questions and voice their concerns. Furthermore, young patients may choose to wear special MRI video goggles that engage their imagination and diminish their fear and anxiety.

If a child has trouble getting past fear, sedation is available from a pediatric anesthesiologist for certain procedures.

Procedure Prep From Home

A candid conversation with your child about what to expect can smooth the experience of an imaging appointment. Dr. Choi-Rosen recommends ImageGently.org as a resource to help parents educate themselves or their child before a procedure. The information is easy to understand and highlights why the exams are important and that they will also help the child.

"We want children and parents to always feel comfortable and empowered to ask questions," Dr. Choi-Rosen said. "The best place for a child who needs an imaging procedure is somewhere that takes care of kids all the time. At Cohen Children's, that's our specialty."

Read the entire Fall 2016 issue of Kids First.

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