What to do if Your Child Swallowed an Object

Any parent will tell you that children do not come with instruction manuals. They are curious, messy and sometimes the only way they learn to not do something, is to do it. That is why so often, 911 dispatchers and pediatricians get that frantic call from a parent that their child has swallowed something. If you are the parent of a child, there are a few steps that need to be followed.

1. Make Sure They Aren’t Choking

Sometimes when kids swallow things, it can end up in their stomach or in their windpipe. If the child is coughing, grabbing at their throat or having difficulty breathing, that tiny piece might be caught in their windpipe. Only try to grab the object if you can clearly see it in the throat, otherwise, you may push it further into the windpipe. If they are showing that they are choking or are overwhelmed, give them the Heimlich Maneuver.

2. Try to Determine What the Object Was

We understand, you turned your back for one second and that is all it took for your child to ingest something they weren’t suppose to. Not only are children curious, but they are also quick. For younger children, using the mouth as an exploratory instrument is pretty standard. See if there are missing pieces and parts around where the child was playing. If it was toxic, like household chemicals or batteries, call your local poison control center. Seek medical attention for sharp, metallic or unknown objects that the child may have ingested.

3. Speak to Your Doctor about Ultrasound or X-ray

Typically speaking, if a child swallows something like coins or toy pieces, they usually pass them on their own. However, sharp objects can sometimes cause painful tearing or bowel movements. That is why Doctors Imaging recommends having your child undergo proper medical imaging procedures in order to determine the condition of internal organs after foreign-body ingestion.

For most children and their parents, swallowing something unintentionally can be a scary moment. That is why medical imaging procedures can be more difficult. Scared children are commonly difficult to maneuver. However, most doctors will recommend having X-rays performed in order to track the foreign object. Not all objects will show up on an X-ray. Ultrasounds are easier to perform because they do not require the child to be separated from parents and does not expose them to radiation. However, X-rays are really the only fool-proof method available to track a swallowed object if it has material that is visible and even if not visible may show some changes in the airway or in the lungs; and if in the digestive system, may help to make sure it does as little damage as possible on its way out of the body. For those parents concerned about radiation exposure, some imaging facilities such as Doctors Imaging, utilize digital X-rays which use the least possible radiation and provide even clearer images.

In an emergency, call 911. When you’re ready for your next medical imaging appointment, please call Doctors Imaging at 504-883-8111 or simply request your appointment online.

MRIs for Kids and Young Adults

When your child is hurt, every parent wants to be sure that their child is receiving the best medical treatment. Children may be even more susceptible to getting hurt because of their rambunctious and curious natures. Sports are a great way for children to make friends, learn discipline and responsibility as well as getting them to engage in much needed physical exercise. While sports may provide a host of benefits, it is also one of the most common ways that children receive injuries.

Whether kids perform martial arts, or play football, baseball, soccer, even more feminine sports like ballet and cheerleading can be sources of serious injuries for children. Childhood gymnasts often experience joint and tendon problems because of their movements and overuse. Children that play contact sports are even more likely to experience a debilitating injury like broken, or sprained limbs. The dreaded injury for any athlete, regardless of age, is an ACL tear.

The ACL is a ligament that helps the knee to bend forward and backwards. Because it is located on the outside of the kneecap, it can be easily broken with a forced jump, a wrong twist or rough contact from an opponent. An ACL tear may require surgery and months of physical therapy and for many athletes, it can be a career-ending injury.

Other common injuries for children in sports include shoulder and elbow injuries. If you have a child that is active in sports and they complain often of pain in these areas, be sure that you ask your pediatrician about an MRI for kids. MRIs are one of the safest methods of medical imaging for children for a number of reasons.

MRIs for kids are the highest recommended form of medical imaging because they involve no radiation. MRI stands for magnetic resonance imaging. That means that inside the machine is a large orbiting magnet. Let’s go back to Biology class, everything is made up of atoms right? Well hydrogen atoms make up a majority of our body. When you enter an MRI chamber, the machine blasts these hydrogen atoms with sound waves making them disruptive and chaotic.  Then the magnet makes the atoms realign where they were. The machine then takes a “photo” of the body and transcribes what it sees with the help of computer technology. So if there is something like a break, mass or strain, the hydrogen atoms would conform around this object because it isn’t meant to be there, creating a photo of the injury for doctors.

In addition to using no radiation, MRIs are more adept at seeing beyond factors like bone, muscle and organs and still giving high quality images. This is especially important for children who often have trouble staying still, especially when they are hurt. Although they need to stay as still as possible for the procedure, if they can do that once, they usually don’t have to do it again. MRIs for kids are the easiest way of determining the degree and severity of an injury.

CT scans are also proficient at determining the extent of injury however they do use  radiation in order to create their images. Where CTs differ from MRIs, besides the use of radiation, is that CTs give cross sectional images of the interior body. MRIs can take images of the same area of the body however MRI has less picture clarity than MRI because it is more susceptible to breathing and other movements.

In or around Metairie, Louisiana and need a MRI or other imaging scan for your child? Give Doctors Imaging a call at 504-883-8111 or use this online form to get the expertise your family needs.

Is It Safe for my Child to Get an X-Ray or other Imaging Procedure?

Due to the nature of children, injuries both minor and major can arise quite often. Whether kids are playing sports, horsing around or happen to be in some kind of accident situation, when they are hurt, every parent wants to make sure that they provide the best care and attention. When a child’s injuries are serious, it is always recommended to have medical attention. But what if a child needs more than just the usual stitches or band-aid? What if they have broken bones or a serious injury?

When a child’s medical needs go beyond the usual, parents are concerned with any additional trauma that their child may have to experience. Obviously, the first concern of any parent is to heal their child but they also don’t want their child to suffer any side effects or complications. This is why many parents are wary of medical imaging for their children.

For those of an older generation or those who aren’t aware of the amazing advances and progress that the medical imaging field has made, the process can sound a tad frightening. Most parents are worried about the effects radiation from these machines and instruments could cause further harm to their children. A recent article has called upon the medical community to create a more standardized method of medical imaging because the lack of regular protocol has led to many alarmed and confused parents.

Dr. Stephen J. Swensen of the Mayo Clinic reports there is an “overuse and misuse of medical imaging among children” and seeks “an appeal to standardize safe and appropriate imaging of children.” Dr. Swensen applies a “right” kind of approach to children and medical imaging meaning that there is a “right exam” for every case, a “right way” for each procedure and a “right radiation dose” for different sized children. This is not to say that if a child breaks their arm they shouldn’t have an X-ray performed. Or if there is a case of pediatric cancer, then CTs should be the test of choice. But because children are still growing, the problem is in the over-usage of medical imaging especially if a facility is not using digital medical imaging. It’s one of the reason that both our X-Ray and Ultrasound equipment both use digital results.

Dr. Swensen’s proposal is not meant to dissuade parents from using medical imaging to help treat their children or to scold doctors and facilities that perform this procedures on children. On the contrary, the proposal is to simply ask these facilities and physicians to take a more personalized approach to their younger patients. While children can bounce back from injury and sickness better than their adult counterparts, physicians are asked to make sure they are following protocol and doing what they can to protect their child patients from any future harm.

Doctors Imaging in Metairie welcomes children of all ages to have their medical imaging needs performed. Like all of our procedures and instruments for the adult patients, children’s medical imaging exams are calibrated to have the lowest radiation settings to ensure both the best images possible but furthermore, the least amount of radiation exposure possible. In addition to our family-friendly staff, we also have the most up-to-date machinery so parents need not worry about radiation when their children come to Doctors Imaging.

If you have other questions about children and medical imaging, feel free to contact Doctors Imaging in Metairie for answers by calling 504-883-8111 or completing our online form.

The Dangers of Childhood Obesity in America

First Lady Michelle Obama has made it her mission to bring more awareness and publicity to a serious national epidemic: childhood obesity. More and more children today are appearing to be overweight, lacking exercise, eating unhealthy foods and having more health problems than ever before. But who is to blame? What can be done to help this problem?

With the advent of the internet age and the never-ending popularity of video games, children are the least active they have ever been. In between crushing school schedules and programs, they come home and want to relax which means staying indoors and occupying their time with mindless video games and television. Combined with shorter recesses and lack of physical education in public school systems, children have nowhere to play and form a healthy relationship with exercise.

But the children are not the ones to be blamed. There are more parents in the workforce than ever and because of this children are not receiving the same healthy homemade meals from their exhausted parents. Children are often given frozen dinners or fast food because it is faster to make or they are left to their own devices when making their food choices. And if you as a parent have poor eating and exercise habits, your children will likely follow the same patterns.

But besides finding out who is to blame, what are the dangers of childhood obesity? Obesity is defined as having an excess of body fat in comparison to the size and age of the body. Obesity is a difficult condition for the body to endure and causes a variety of health problems. Obese children make obese adults and obese adults have perilous health conditions to watch out for. Obese children have a greater chance of developing prediabetes and they have bone and joint difficulty from the pressure of that weight on the body’s structures which make exercise even more difficult. Children suffering from obesity can also develop hormonal imbalances or sleep apnea, a condition in which people will stop breathing during their sleep cycle. But perhaps the most difficult side effect of childhood obesity is the psychological impact. Overweight children are often bullied, stigmatized, ridiculed and suffer from low self-esteem and depression, which in turn makes them seek food as a form of satisfaction and happiness, and thus perpetuating the cycle.

As if these conditions were not difficult enough to deal with in childhood, the problems associated with obesity as an adult are even more frightening. Obese people are predisposed to heart disease and the probability of a stroke because of the high platelet count in the bloodstream. They have a greater chance of developing Type 2 Diabetes which can be treated by losing the excess weight. Those that live with obesity also have a much higher chance of developing several types of cancer and osteoarthritis from prolonged stress on the bones and joints.

As a nation, this alarming trend will cost taxpayers as more and more as the population becomes more and more obese and puts a strain on the healthcare system trying to help them. Despite all of this dire information concerning obesity, the one positive part of this condition is that it is conditional, not terminal. With proper diet, exercise or in extreme cases, weight loss surgery, people can fight back against obesity and lead longer, healthier lives.

If you or your child is suffering from obesity, speak to your physician about diet and nutrition plans to help lose weight. Sometimes in the course of a pediatrician evaluating the causes of obesity, an imaging test like ultrasound or CT or even MRI may be ordered. At Doctors Imaging , we have the tools to assist in the diagnosis of endocrine and other medical problems. To schedule an examination or to seek further information, please call 504 883-3555.

Can Children Have Medical Imaging Procedures Performed?

Adults are not the only people that seem to get injured or sick. When children have health scares or emergency injuries, it is up to the parents and physicians to work together to find the best treatment options for the child. If a child requires hospitalization or surgery, then the doctor will likely want a battery of medical tests performed, all with the assistance of medical imaging. Continue reading to find out what the benefits, risks and imaging procedures will be like for your child in the event of sickness or injury.

Ultrasounds

Ultrasounds are one of the most common and frequently used medical imaging procedures.  Ultrasounds use sound waves and computer technology to see into the internal structures of the body. Because of the lack of radiation used, they are completely safe to perform on children. Women will often have several ultrasounds performed throughout their pregnancy and all are harmless. Ultrasounds can help determine conditions like cardiovascular birth defects, dysfunction in the reproductive organs, injuries after traumatic incidents like falls or car accidents, and possible cancerous masses. This procedure is also completely painless for children so there is no need for sedation or anesthesia.

CT / CAT Scan

A CT or CAT scan is another medical imaging procedure that your doctor may ask to perform. CT scans use a combination of X-ray and computer technology to examine the body and form images for further study. CT scans are commonly performed when doctors need cross-sectional images of the internal organs such as the chest cavity, abdominal areas, or the brain. If your doctor needs to perform a pediatric CT, the child may be asked to not eat for several hours prior to the examination so that the images will not be distorted. Children will also have to remain very still and silent during the scan. This can be difficult for some children, so the doctor may be forced to sedate the child if need be. A common practice for CT scans is to administer contrast material so certain growths or blockages can be seen better. Contrast material can be given to a child through an IV, by swallowing the solution, or through an enema. If your child has allergies or a kidney condition, you should inform the doctor or technician prior to the scan.

CT scans do use small amounts of radiation in order to better highlight the different types of structures in the body. Although the dose is relatively small, repeated CT scans can incur a slightly higher risk of cancer. But the advantages in diagnosis that CT scans can provide far outweigh the potential risk. The best way to limit the exposure is to only have CT scans performed when they are essential and to have the mechanisms narrowed onto one part of the child’s body. There are always risk when using sedation and anesthesia with children, so discuss options with your doctor and child.

X-Rays

X-rays are another extremely common medical imaging procedure performed on both adults and children. If your child has a recent injury or needs surgery, doctors will often ask that an X-ray be performed to determine conditions like bones fractures, breaks and growth dysfunctions. X-rays are performed relatively quickly so the time your child spends exposed to the small doses of radiation is limited. Ask your doctor or imaging facility if they use analog X-rays or digital. Digital X-rays use much smaller doses of radioactive material to examine the body.

MRI

MRI or a magnetic resonance imaging procedure, is a imaging practice that doctors will usually perform if the child has a cardiovascular or brain condition, bleeding problems, childhood cancer or a type of growth disorder. MRIs have use no forms of radiation so children are safe to have this procedure performed. MRIs use radio and magnetic waves to excite the atoms within the body and then use computer technology to collect these atoms and form the image of the body. Possible points of discomfort for a child would be remaining still for very long and having contrast material administered.

PET-CT Scans

PET-CT scans are a form of nuclear medicine that doctors use to obtain images for better diagnosis. PET-CT scans use radioactive material in order to create the images that the doctors will use to plan treatment options. This imaging procedure is most often performed if a doctor is concerned about conditions like childhood cancer or cardiovascular and neurological disorders. Doctors will likely only use CT scans or another kind of imaging procedure for children unless the potential information to be gained is essential.

Having any medical imaging procedure performed can be a scary experience for both parents and children. But it is important to remember that these tests are created to improve the health of children. If you have serious reservations or fears, speak with a doctor or technician about all of your questions. Your child cannot ask these questions, so it your job to stay informed and calm so they can stay healthy and happy.

In the Louisiana area? At Doctors Imaging, we’re Radiologists concerned about quality patient care. Scheduling is simple, and you can either do it online, or call 504-883-8111. We look forward to taking care of you and your family.