Imaging Gently: Overcoming Children’s Fears in Radiology

Many of the technologies used to help diagnose problems are large, noisy and scary to children. See what to expect in a visit to radiology and how great medical interactions leads to trust and better, clearer images. Dr. Jesse Courtier is in the Department of Radiology and Biomedical Imaging at UCSF and Jonathan Iris-Wilbanks is a Child Life Specialist at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital. Recorded on 10/27/2015. Series: "UCSF Osher Center for Integrative Medicine presents Mini Medical School for the Public".

RSNA On The Air with Dr. Thomas Hope - PET/MRI

RSNA On The Air with Dr. Thomas Hope.  PET/MRI two machines combined into one and can do both PET and MRI scans simultaneously.


PET and MR scans can be done simultaneously since it is now one machine. It is an engineering feat in getting a PET to function inside a strong magnetic field. This gives a patient an adequate MR stage and PET whole body at the exact same time.  It also lowers the dosage and is more convenient.

MRI-Guided Breast Biopsy

Biopsy is defined as a small amount of tissue removed from the breast to be studied under the microscope.  MRI guided biopsy will require the patient to be lying on their belly and their breast will be compressed on a grid. During the biopsy, the patient you will feel pressure and possibly mild pain, and if you feel severe or sharp pain let your doctor know.  A doctor will insert the biopsy needle at the target area, while taking multiple images to ensure the needle is in a good position.

BODY RIG Research

1) Multiparametric Prostate MR program (12 patients a week). 
2) Liver MR: for diffuse disease and dietary intervention studies.
3) Body Rig-integrate advance PET and MR imaging for the real time guidance biopsies in treatment and to this end we have been using an  FDA-approved direct MR guided biopsy device that allows for improved identification characterization prostate cancer in individual patients. 

Getting Children Ready For an MRI

In order to get a MRI, the child must lay down and relax. To children it looks like a big tunnel, and it is extremely important that they lie very still. The more still they are the clearer the pictures will be. A simple technique we use is that we can tell the child to pretend to be frozen, or to be a rock so the pictures turn out clearer. It is definitely recommended that the child uses the bathroom before going to the MRI.  For children, it might be loud so they can be given headphones to block out noise. Also, at UCSF they can watch a movie or listen to music while getting an MRI.  

When NOT to get an MRI

UCSF Radiologist Dr. Dillon describes MRI diagnostics, when to get and not to get an MRI, and alternative diagnostics for back pain.

How to Read Images

UCSF Radiologist Dr. Dillon describes how radiologists read images.

The different planes that Radiologists use are axial (divides the body into top and bottom halves), coronal (perpendicular), and sagittal (midline of the body). Radiologists call images that are axial or coronal view differently as they reverse left and right. Radiologists view CT and MR as if they are looking from the feet upward (the right image is the left side of the patient). 

Magnetic resonance imaging: Making protons scream

Humans are made of atoms and molecules, which are made of hydrogen.  Hydrogen nucleus is like a magnetic dipole, which is like a small magnet in the body.  When strong magnets are placed next to the patient it creates a uniform magnetic field so these hydrogen nuclei align themselves in a uniform direction of the body. If we send a pulse in the body, the protons will 'scream', eventually the protons in calcium, soft tissue, and fat will go away. If you wait long enough, you will only see protons 'scream' from the water.

When two images are better than one: Fusing CT and PET images

Radiologists can fuse high resolution images of CT scans as well of PET scans or nuclear med scan to localize the tumor.  It is hard to make out other structures if we don’t have fine details of CT or MR scan. By combining our methods we can help the surgeon or the radiation oncologist and person doing the intervention to figure out best to treat the patient.