This post was contributed by Marta Hernanz-Schulman, MD, FACR, chair of the American College of Radiology Commission on Pediatric Radiology.
Nov. 8, 2015, is International Day of Radiology (#IDoR2015), and the radiology community will celebrate advances made in pediatric imaging. On this day, 120 years ago, German physicist Wilhelm Röentgen discovered the X-ray, and the science of medical imaging was born.
His discovery and subsequent discoveries, including ultrasound and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), have revolutionized medicine and saved countless lives. This year, we celebrate the impact of these life-saving procedures on the care of children. It’s time to let the world know that medical imaging and radiation oncology make a world of difference every day in our children’s care.
Through X-ray modalities [such as radiographs and computed tomography (CT) scans] and other imaging (such as ultrasound and MRI), correct diagnoses are more quickly made — much less invasively than in the past. Children no longer have to undergo exploratory surgery for suspected appendicitis, as ultrasound and CT have dramatically lowered the rate of unnecessary operations for children who do not have appendicitis. Children also do not have to undergo exploratory surgery to assess the presence and degree of injuries after severe trauma, such as after major motor vehicle accidents. Surgery is now reserved for those patients who need surgical treatment, and the surgery can be confined to the treatment of known injuries, not to their identification. Similarly, severe head injuries requiring neurosurgical intervention can be quickly identified, and lifesaving, timely treatment can be instituted. Imaging results allow physicians to quickly address urgent situations or rule out illness or injury to give parents peace of mind.
Through ongoing efforts like the Image Gently® campaign, collaborations with pediatric radiology societies (such as the Society for Pediatric Radiology (SPR) and other societies dedicated to children’s imaging around the world) and collaboration with imaging equipment manufacturers, radiologists are making pediatric imaging exams better, safer, and less invasive every day.
Radiation therapy is also a modern result of Röentgen’s discovery. Today, 44 percent of children diagnosed with cancer are treated with radiation therapy, helping to save countless lives. Survival for many childhood cancers has dramatically improved over the last few decades as use of these technologies has increased.
Using ACR’s free resources, we can build greater awareness of the value that radiology research, diagnosis and treatment contribute to safe patient care — especially for children. ACR’s online communications toolkit includes a customizable news release, op-ed, print and web ads, and social media posts.
It’s time to let others understand the vital role radiologists perform in health care delivery. How are you celebrating #IDoR2015?