For some children, CT scans and other medical imaging tests can be life saving, but the successful imaging of pediatric patients requires special expertise that takes into account their age, size and ability to stay motionless for the test.
At Children’s Hospital of New Jersey (CHoNJ), located at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center, Tej Phatak, MD, is a board-certified pediatrician as well as a fellowship trained pediatric diagnostic radiologist. He works with children and their families to obtain detailed, accurate results while optimizing the child’s safety and comfort.
In addition to having an on-site pediatric radiologist, CHoNJ has one of the few CT scanners in the state that provides low-dose CT scanning for children. Using advanced CT noise reduction, the total radiation dose from a CT scan performed at CHoNJ can be reduced by 33-50 percent.
“This is nothing short of a miracle in dose reduction and it permits the safer imaging of children in our community,” says Dr. Phatak.
The Pediatric Radiology Department at CHoNJ offers a full-range of the most advanced diagnostic and interventional radiology services for newborns, infants, children, and adolescents. The team includes pediatric radiology technicians and nursing staff skilled at helping children relax and remain still for imaging studies.
Dr. Phatak directly interprets pediatric imaging studies, frequently drawing on his perspective as a pediatrician to both determine the best test to perform and to interpret it in the context of the patient’s history and physical examination findings.
“Communication and collaboration with pediatricians is critical to providing the best care,” he says. “By drawing on my pediatric clinical experience and radiological expertise, I can create an ideal environment for meeting my patient’s imaging needs.”
Providing the Right Child-Size Dose of Radiation
There is no question that radiography helps physicians to save children’s lives. But when the imaging takes place on a child, minimizing radiation exposure is critical because children are more sensitive to radiation than adults and have many more years of life ahead of them. Many parents worry that their child might receive a radiation dose that is too large for their size or possibly even unnecessary.
The Pediatric Radiology Department at CHoNJ complies with the tenets of safety and pediatric protocols for the ‘Image Gently Campaign,’ which was initiated by the Alliance for Radiation Safety in Pediatric Imaging. The Image Gently Campaign is designed to significantly reduce, or “child-size,” the amount of radiation used in imaging exams of children and substitute exams without ionizing radiation when possible.
“We carefully recommend and tailor imaging studies to minimize radiation exposure without compromising diagnostic value and image quality,” says Dr. Phatak. “We also utilize ultrasound as much as possible to eliminate radiation exposure altogether. When testing includes radiation exposure, the lowest possible dose is used based on each child’s size and the clinical question which needs to be answered.”
Services Offered by the Pediatric Radiology Department
Whether diagnostic imaging is needed on an emergency, inpatient or outpatient basis, the Pediatric Radiology Department provides comfortable, stress-free imaging and timely interpretation for and collaboration with our pediatricians.
Services include a full range of diagnostic and interventional procedures utilizing:
- Diagnostic Radiology (General X-ray)
- Fluoroscopy (upper GI series, Barium Enema)
- CT scan (low-dose)
- MRI (including MR enterography)
- Vascular and Interventional Radiology
- Diagnostic and Therapeutic Nuclear Medicine
- For procedures or studies that require sedation or anesthesia, a team of anesthesiologists and pediatric sedation nurse practitioners provide expert care.
To make an appointment or to learn more about Pediatric Imaging Services at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center, please call 973-926-7466.