Throughout pregnancy and in the neonatal period, radiology scans can be important to monitor the progress of the child and to evaluate injuries.
Ultrasound is not actually a type of radiology because it does not rely on radiation. Instead, it uses high-frequency sound waves which a computer can translate into images. Ultrasound is useful for diagnosing:
- Ectopic pregnancy
- Placenta previa
- Placental Abruption
- Periventricular leukomalacia (PVL)
- Spina bifida
- Cephalopelvic disproportion
MRI is short for magnetic resonance imaging. It uses a powerful magnet. Unlike x-rays and CT scans, it does not use ionizing radiation and is generally considered safe. However, because the effects on unborn babies have not been adequately studied, it is recommended that fetal MRIs only be performed when necessary (particularly during the first trimester). The use of contrast agents like gadolinium, which enhance the picture in an MRI, can cross the placenta and should be avoided.
Fetal MRIs can be used to detect congenital defects, help with fetal surgery, and to diagnose and evaluate fetal tumors.
MRI is also used in the neonatal period (the first 30 days of life) to evaluate suspected brain injury. Experts can evaluate the type and location of brain damage to determine whether it was caused by an injury during labor and delivery. MRIs can help doctors to connect a child’s cerebral palsy to medical negligence.
CT Scans/CAT Scans
Computed Tomography and Computed Axial Tomography are a type of scan that uses x-rays to produce a picture. Because radiation is used, it is a last resort for the abdomen of pregnant patients (it is generally considered safe when used on other parts of the body). For example, physicians may determine that the risks to the child are warranted if the mother is in danger of appendicitis.
If your child has a birth injury and you would like to know if that injury could have been prevented by your doctor, contact our medical malpractice attorneys at (440) 252-4399 or online for a free consultation. Your child may be entitled to money that can pay for your child’s medical care and therapies.
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