An ultrasound uses sound waves to produce an image of internal body structures, such as images of fetuses in utero. Pediatric Neurosurgeons can use ultrasound to view a baby’s brain because babies’ skulls have not fully hardened. Ultrasound images are quick, can be performed in a doctor’s office, and pose no significant health risks.
X-Rays use radiation to produce an image that clearly shows bone structures, and it can also be used to identify some abnormalities in soft tissues, like pneumonia in the lungs. Neurosurgeons often take x-rays of the skull to detect skull fractures, an oddly shaped skull, or other skull abnormalities. Getting an X-ray takes about 15 minutes, and the low dose of radiation carries limited health risks. Verry often, neurosurgeons need to see SHUNT x-rays.
A CT-scan uses X-rays and computer technology to produce clear pictures of tissues inside the body. Because CT-scans are quick and easy to perform, Neurosurgeons often order a CT scan when a prompt diagnosis of brain abnormality, such as identifying bleeds due to trauma, are needed. CT scans use a higher dose of radiation than traditional x-rays and carry some health risks, such as causing cancer in kids, so pediatric neurosurgeons typically avoid them whenever an MRI is possible, and ONLY use them in emergency situations.
Magnetic Resonance Imaging uses magnetic fields to produce a clear image of internal body structures. Pediatric neurosurgeons frequently use MRI to detect abnormalities of the brain and spine, some of which cannot be seen with the less-vivid CT scan. Getting an MRI can take up to an hour and children usually require sedation in order to prevent them from moving, but MR imaging uses no radiation and does not carry the health risks of a CT scan.