CT Scans for Children

If your child has stomach pain, suffered a recent injury or illness, or has a mass that requires further examination, your doctor may suggest a CT scan (computed tomography, scan) also known as a CAT scan. CT scans create up-close digital images of organs, soft tissues, bones and blood vessels.

CT Scans are safe and painless, but they can still be scary to a child. Randall Children’s specialists are specially trained to care for infants, children and teens. You’ll have peace of mind knowing our pediatric radiologists and the Randall Care team provide the best possible experience for your child and use state-of-the-art software for enhanced images. The CT scan results help our specialists to make a thorough, timely diagnosis and, if necessary, a treatment plan for your child. Because safety is a top priority, our pediatric radiologists strive to expose young children to less radiation than adults.

What You Can Expect?

Be sure to follow all instructions you receive prior to your appointment. Braces, and fillings won’t interfere with the scan, but you should make the radiologist aware of them. Tell the technologist if your child has any implanted medical or electronic device, including cochlear ear implants. These objects may interfere with the exam or potentially pose a risk. Because other metals will interfere with the scan, they should be left at home or removed prior to the scan.  Types of metals not allowed in the exam room include: 

  • jewelry, watches, body piercings
  • pins, hairpins, metal zippers eyelets, hooks, buttons and similar metallic items  
  • eyeglasses and hearing aids
  • cell phones, credit cards  
  • pens, pocket knives and all magnetic objects 

Write down information on any medicine your child is taking and any known allergies.  

When you arrive for the CT scan, our expert team will try to make you and your children comfortable. CT scan a stress-free experience. 

How to Prepare Your Child 

First, assure your child that a CT scan is not scary, and that you will be close by throughout the whole process. Your child is given an injection of a color agent, and the contrast helps the provider see better. The contrast helps us to see blood filled organs helping us determine what is wrong and determine treatment. We will ask questions about allergies to make sure it is safe for your child. Contrast can make the child feel warm or flushed and make give them the urge to urinate (pee). These are normal and expected. This may feel warm or even sting, but the sensation will go away quickly.  As with all tests, you’ll be asked about any allergies to iodine, drugs, foods, or if your child has asthma. When your child is in the right position, a large machine will rotate around the table to take pictures. It’s important that your child lie very still during this process. The great news is that the procedure usually lasts no more than a couple of minutes.  

What Happens Next? 

The images are reviewed, and reports are sent to the ordering provider for review within 24 hours. It may take up to a week to be shared with you by your provider.  

Scheduling Imaging  

Imaging has one centralized number and you can select the site convenient for you or based on the support services needed for your child. 

Oregon: 503-413-7800
Washington: 360-487-1800   

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