What to Expect in the Radiology & Imaging Department

When you arrive to the Radiology & Imaging Department, sign your child name in at the registration desk. Your child's name will be called and our staff will complete the proper paperwork.

Our staff is checking in patients for many areas within the Radiology Department. Therefore, you may not be checked-in in the order in which you signed in.

Within the Radiology Department are seven different areas of testing. They include CAT scan, EEG, fluoroscopy, MRI, nuclear medicine, ultrasound and X-ray. Tests are performed on inpatients, outpatients and emergency room patients.

If your child is scheduled to receive sedation or anesthesia for their procedure today, you have been asked to arrive one to two hours early. This time is used for check-in with our department nurses and doctors prior to your child's procedure.

Our radiologists and technologists at Phoenix Children's are trained and experienced in pediatric procedures, ensuring the special attention children need. We recognize the importance of creating a safe and comfortable environment for children and their families. Our state-of-the-art diagnostic equipment has special pediatric features, and includes a full range of diagnostic imaging and interventional radiology services calibrated for infants, children, adolescents, and adults as needed.

Please note: Phoenix Children's Hospital requires that all girls who are 11 years old and older, or younger girls who have started their periods, to be tested for pregnancy before procedures. This is whether the child is in the hospital or is an outpatient. The reason for this is that some procedures can be harmful to a pregnant female or unborn child. To ensure the safety of your child, we do a pregnancy test to provide the safest care possible. Talk your doctor, nurse or medical professional with any questions. If your child is scheduled for an outpatient procedure and the pregnancy test is positive, your child will be referred to her primary care physician for follow up. Thank you for your cooperation.

Testing Departments

In a CT scan (or Computerized Axial Tomography), a computer uses X-rays to make a series of detailed pictures of the inside of the body. The CT machine is big and looks something like a large doughnut.

Your child will lie on a bed, and the bed will move slowly through the middle of the machine while it takes pictures. Because X-ray is used, pregnant women will not be able to stay in the room during the scan. The CT scan usually takes 20-30 minutes to complete.

Handout: Having a CT Scan at Phoenix Children's Hospital (PDF)

An EEG or Electroencephalogram measures the electrical impulses of the brain. EEGs can help doctors gain information if your child has seizures, a brain injury or other brain related issues. For the test, electrodes are placed on your child's head. They look like buttons with a wire attached. The electrodes stay in place on the skin with specialized glue or tape. The EEG usually takes 60-90 minutes to complete.

Fluoroscopy is a type of X-ray that generates video-type pictures. The doctor can watch the organ inside of the body as it works. Many types of exams are performed with the use of fluoroscopy such as an upper GI, barium enema, barium swallow and VCUGs, to name a few. Pregnant women will not be able to stay in the room during the scan. Fluoroscopy scans usually take 45-60 minutes to complete.

An MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) scan is a camera that makes a series of detailed pictures of the inside of the body. The MRI uses magnets to take the pictures, so you and your child will need to remove anything with metal such as jewelry or barrettes before going into the MRI room. Electronic games, cell phones or other devices also cannot go into the MRI room. The MRI usually takes 45-60 minutes to complete.

Handout: Having an MRI at Phoenix Children's Hospital (PDF)

A nuclear medicine scan uses a camera to take pictures of the inside of the body. It takes pictures of different parts of the body like the heart, kidneys, lungs, bones or liver. A radioactive tracer is given either by an intravenous injection, through a catheter into the bladder or orally ingested. The way that your child will receive the tracer will be determined by the part of their body we are taking pictures of. The scan usually lasts 30-90 minutes.

Ultrasound uses high-frequency sound waves to create pictures of the inside of the body. An instrument called a transducer (it looks like a microphone) is rubbed on top of the skin to help create the pictures on a computer screen. Ultrasound usually takes 30 minutes to complete.

X-ray is the most common form of radiology testing. It can be used to look at many parts of the body including the lungs, abdomen and the skeletal system. Pregnant women will not be able to stay in the room during the scan. X-rays usually take 15-30 minutes to complete.

Please remember that we are checking in patients for many different testing areas within the Radiology Department. Because of this, you may not be checked in or brought back in the order in which you signed in.

Thank you for your understanding.  If you have any questions, please call our Radiology Department at 602-933-1213.