CT scan (CAT scan) with sedation or anesthesia
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 some scans can be obtained in seconds; others take a few minutes or longer, particularly if multiple parts of your child's body are being imaged
- Painless - no part of the CT scanner ever touches your child
- Incredibly accurate - it can provide more detailed images of your child's 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 with sedation or anesthesia
The Division of Computed Tomography is dedicated to children of all ages, as you'll see from the whimsical decor of our Fenway Park and beach-themed CT rooms in Boston to 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 while your child gets a scan, when possible.
Sometimes children cannot stay motionless long enough to have the scan and must be sedated or — in rare cases — placed under general anesthesia. Sedation and anesthesia are provided by our team of experienced pediatric sedation nurses, a sedation-trained pediatrician and anesthesiologists who monitor your child throughout the exam and recovery.
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.