Pediatric Radiology Experience and Specialization

Pediatric Radiologists' Expertise at UCSF

The pediatric radiologists at UCSF have special expertise in the careful imaging of children, including the use of pediatric ultrasound, CT and MRI. We are able to detect and monitor a wide variety of pediatric disorders without invasive techniques, and often without radiation. When radiation is necessary, we always use the lowest possible dose. We also practice precision medicine: imaging smaller parts faster and with the highest possible resolution.

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minimizing the radiation exposure dose for children

Children's Safety Comes First

At UCSF we take pride in matching the appropriate imaging test with the problem at hand. Our motto is “First do no harm” and non-invasive imaging is often an ideal way to diagnose and understand complex pediatric conditions. When we must use radiation for imaging, we focus on minimizing the radiation exposure dose for children and all patients.  





Not all radiology centers are the same, and UCSF stands out for its ability to provide outstanding imaging quality with low radiation requirements. We use the latest protocols while taking advantage of investments in advanced software and equipment to minimize the radiation dose to children. The result is safety and extremely high image quality--accurate enough to diagnose and treat our young patients to ensure their health and well-being.

We are part of the Image Gently campaign, an initiative of the Alliance for Radiation Safety in Pediatric Imaging, which includes the Society for Pediatric Radiology. The campaign goal is to increase awareness of ways to promote radiation safety in the imaging of children.

John MacKenzie, MD - Chief of Pediatric Radiology

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Meeting the Challenges of Imaging Children

UCSF’s pediatric radiologists are recognized experts and worldwide leaders in the imaging of children. That’s why pediatricians consistently turn to us for help when imaging their patients. Because kids are smaller and tend to move a lot, we have a special team available to make diagnoses on our smallest and most precious patients.   


minimizing the radiation exposure dose for children

Minimal use of Anesthesia, Sedation, and Radiation

We often use no sedation to image children, and we are especially attentive to completing the procedure quickly. We have particular expertise in ultrasound and MRI-imaging modalities that require no radiation. Our equipment is state-of-the-art, but we go beyond just taking pictures with our equipment. For example, we provide MRI-compatible CinemaVision goggles (which are found in very few imaging centers) so that our young patients can watch movies during their MRI procedure. Watching an entertaining movie helps children remain comfortable and still, and it minimizes the need for anesthesia.

Special Expertise

Parents and families have unique needs for the imaging of their children, and we tailor each examination to those needs. We take pride in imaging small structures quickly, with the highest resolution and superior imaging quality. That effort translates into the best information for the child’s pediatrician, surgeon or pediatric subspecialist.

At UCSF we are fortunate to have subspecialist radiologists who provide pediatric imaging with a focus on certain pediatric diseases. For example, for disorders unique to the pediatric brain and fetus, we work with world-renowned experts in pediatric neuroradiology and fetal imaging.

The pediatric radiologists at UCSF hold advanced, dual training in body imaging, bone-and-joint imaging, MRI, low radiation dose CT, ultrasound, and fetal imaging. Our technologists are also specially trained to work well with children, and they are experienced in helping children feel comfortable during their imaging studies.

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Valuable Resource to Pediatricians

Because our pediatric radiologists are very experienced in multiple imaging modalities and understand the latest breakthroughs in imaging children, they are a valuable resource to pediatricians. Our team of radiologists helps guide pediatricians in selecting the best test or combination of tests for the problem, whether it be MRI, CT, ultrasound, radiography or fluoroscopy.

Collaborative Approach

At UCSF pediatric radiology we foster close collaboration with the physicians who refer to us: experts in neonatology, pediatric surgery, oncology, orthopedics, rheumatology, gastroenterology, primary care/pediatrics, nephrology and urology (just to name a few pediatric subspecialties). We regularly work with physicians in the greater community as well as with physicians at UCSF. We also discuss difficult patient issues at a variety of multidisciplinary conferences with treating physicians, which allows us to recommend the best care plan to our patients.

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Pediatric Consultations

We invite physicians to discuss a patient case with one of our pediatric radiologists by calling our reading room or our administrative assistant, Kim Nyberg, at (415) 476-1364 or by email at [email protected]. We are also available for consultations with our chief of pediatric radiology by sending him an email. Referring physicians from any practice or institution are welcome to contact us to discuss their patients’ circumstances. We will be pleased to assist in identifying appropriate medical resources and care. You may use your own referral form or download the UCSF referral form.