Pediatric Imaging

All About Pediatric Imaging: From Modalities To Applications And Trends

The efficacy of pediatric imaging devices in producing high-quality pictures, combining clinical information, and accurately evaluating the symptoms of the part of the imaged body continues to affect their sales.

Throughout the first half of the projected period, demand for x-ray systems will remain high. Ultrasound adoption of pediatric radiology products is expected to increase traction. Developments in the pediatric radiology industry are expected to witness a rapid boost with the contribution of ultrasound systems and devices.

What is pediatric imaging?

Pediatric radiology is a subspecialty of radiology involving the imaging of fetuses, infants, adolescent children, and young adults. Most pediatric radiologists are working in children’s hospitals. Although some diseases seen in pediatrics are the same as in adults, many conditions can only be seen in infants.

The specialty has to take into account the dynamics of the growing body, from preterm infants to large adolescents, where the organs follow growth patterns and phases. These require special imaging and treatment at the Children’s Hospital, which has all the infrastructure necessary to treat children and their specific pathologies.

Modalities of pediatric imaging:

Computed Tomography (CT)

Computed tomography (CT or CAT scan) is a diagnostic medical examination that uses X-ray instruments and computers to generate accurate cross-section images of the body. A computerized tomography (CT) scan provides clear images of the inside of the organs, tissues, blood vessels, and other things not seen in regular X-rays. It is also used to diagnose other diseases and to plan treatments.

CT scans for children can be used to diagnose causes of abdominal pain, assess trauma injuries, diagnose and monitor cancer response, and diagnose and monitor infectious or inflammatory disorders. Pediatric CT scans can also be conducted to test blood vessels all over the body.

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)

Pediatric Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) uses a strong magnetic field, radio waves and a device to make precise images of the interior of the child’s body. MRI can be used to help diagnose or track recovery for a variety of conditions in the brain, chest, abdomen, pelvis, and extremities. MRI is used to help treat a wide variety of disorders in children due to injuries, illness, or congenital abnormalities.

In some instances, MR imaging of the body’s soft tissue structures — such as the heart, liver, and many other organs — is more likely to identify and precisely characterize diseases than other imaging methods. This insight makes MRI an invaluable tool for early diagnosis and evaluation of multiple focal lesions and tumors. MRI is useful in the treatment of a wide variety of diseases, including cancer, heart and vascular disease, and muscular and bone disorders.

Ultrasound

A pediatric abdominal ultrasound uses sound waves to create images of the interior of the body. It does not use radiation and has no known adverse effect. This is also helpful for determining the causes of abdominal, pelvic, or scrotal pain in children. Pediatric ultrasound imaging is a non-invasive diagnostic test that helps doctors to diagnose and treat medical problems.

Ultrasound is safe and painless. It produces photos of the interior of the body using sound waves. Ultrasound imaging is sometimes referred to as ultrasound screening or sonography. It uses a thin probe called a transducer and a gel that is placed directly on the skin. High-frequency sound waves pass from the probe to the body through the gel. The sound that bounces back is collected by the probe. The computer uses sound waves to create an image.

Applications that are actively adopting pediatric imaging technology:

Cardiology

Cardiac imaging plays a crucial role in the proper diagnosis of pediatric congenital heart disease (CHD). Traditionally, echocardiography and catheter angiography is used to delineate heart anatomy. CT and MRI scans offer a non-invasive form of measuring cardiovascular pathology and can be used in combination with echocardiography for diagnosis and recovery preparation of CHD. These modalities can better portray morphology and the relationship to surrounding structures than echocardiography, especially in the case of complex congenital defects.

Oncology

Radiological tests of children with cancer offer knowledge critical to patient care during treatment and follow-up. This information includes, in the first place, the diagnosis of neoplasia, the assessment of disease severity and distribution, the detection of treatment-related toxicity, the assessment of disease response to medication, and the creation of clinical trial protocols. Over recent years, there has been a shift in the approach to the care of certain childhood malignancies, with a growing focus on the elimination of medication-related complications and late effects.

Gastroenterology

Imaging contributes significantly to the assessment, diagnosis, and follow-up of pediatric gastrointestinal (GI) problems. Children really are not just small adults, and the wide range of unique imaging features of pediatric problems must be recognized.

The imaging techniques used to evaluate pediatric patients with GI symptoms are significantly different from those used in adults. Where radiation-requiring imaging modalities are chosen, the “as low as reasonably achievable” (ALARA) principle will often be followed to mitigate radiation exposure.

Emerging trends in pediatric imaging technology

Cross-discipline collaboration within departments

In order to provide optimal care, the industry has become increasingly dependent on working with other specialists, giving radiologists the ability to take the lead in managing cross-disciplinary workflows. Since radiology is one of the most IT-skilled disciplines in the healthcare industry, there will be no problems for radiologists applying integrated diagnostics using digital technology. Given that pathologists are heading toward digital image analysis, a more systematic cross-collaboration phase is on the way.

Adoption of digital health technology to improve patient access

Digital-native physician’s rise would have a significant effect on health care and patient experiences, putting evolving health technologies under pressure to deliver on higher standards. Improving efficiency, sustainability, and patient quality are at the center of primary healthcare.

Public health care’s three pillars are primary care and basic roles of public health as the foundation of decentralized health systems, multisectoral strategy, and action and empowering people and communities. All kinds of new tools have become important primary care services and their adoption is increasing, with the last decade seeing rapid convergence of technology in a number of fields that support primary care and critical public health functions.

Hyperautomation

Hyperautomation refers to the use of computers for automating activities. Through implementing new technology, such as machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI), procedures that traditionally involved humans can now be accomplished through automation. This technology can be used to automate a number of tools, which are essential because a single tool cannot successfully replace a human being.

One way to effectively leverage hyper-automation, for example, is through better streamlining and automating patient communication, such as automated text messaging. By using this process, patients will provide real-time, encrypted notifications with information relevant to their appointments, alerts on when the scan results are available, and more.

To sum up

Technological advances — in conjunction with creative thinking — have contributed to changes in the radiology industry in the past few years, which have given tremendous benefits to both radiologists and patients. These solutions enable radiologists to deliver higher quality services faster than ever before, while also helping to prevent burn-out at work in the industry. Medical and public health advances have brought in dramatic changes in the epidemiology of health conditions in infants, children, and youth since the early twentieth century.

Free Valuable Insights: Global Pediatric Imaging Market to reach a market size of USD 10.9 billion by 2026

Infectious diseases have significantly decreased, and survival rates have drastically increased for children with cancer, congenital heart disease, leukemia, and other illnesses. Yet serious health problems and illnesses in children and youth have gradually grown over the past fifty years, mainly from four types of medical diseases: diabetes, obesity, mental health conditions, and neurodevelopmental disorders. Current payment arrangements, which are also predominantly fee-for-service, often provide limited incentives to promote these innovations in practice.