Discuss your child’s options

In some cases imaging may not be needed. A diagnosis can often be made on the basis of your child’s medical history, their symptoms and a clinical examination.

For instance, plain X-ray, CT scan or MRI typically won’t help diagnose or change the treatment plan for a range of soft tissue injuries — including some common ankle and knee injuries and many cases of acute low back pain. However, imaging can be helpful if the doctor suspects a broken bone or serious joint injury that may require surgery or another intervention.

Discuss the options with your doctor

Your child's doctor should work with you and the imaging specialist to help determine whether imaging is required and, if so, which type is most suitable.

Ask questions if you are unsure about anything. Make sure you understand the options so that you make the best decision for your child.

For example, you might want to know if the results of previous imaging are relevant, or whether other types of imaging, that may use no or lower doses of radiation, are an option.

Imaging may also result in out-of-pocket expenses. You should ask the radiology practice beforehand whether there will be any cost to you.

Waiting is sometimes an option

Your child’s doctor may suggest a 'wait-and-see' approach for a period of time before going ahead with an imaging test. In some cases this can result in avoiding the need for any imaging and so reduce risks like radiation. A doctor may also be able to use the results of previous imaging or other investigations to assist with a diagnosis or treatment plan.

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