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Neuroradiology. Imaging of the Nervous System in Children

This page was last updated on April 8th, 2024


William Gomes, M.D., Ph.D.

Editor in Chief

Rick Abbott, M.D.


Neuroimaging techniques are essential for evaluation of the brain and skull in contemporary neurosurgical practice. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and computed tomography (CT) are the predominant neuroimaging methods. Ultrasonography of the brain is also feasible in young children, prior to closure of the cranial fontanelles, and is of particular use in critically ill infants. Positron emission tomography (PET) and single-photon emission tomography (SPECT) are valuable in certain circumstances, particularly the evaluation of children with epilepsy. Invasive cerebral angiography has largely been replaced by MRI and CT techniques but continues to find use for the pre-surgical evaluation of vascular malformations and aneurysms.

Key Points

  • Avoid radiation if possible: Use of ionizing radiation, including CT scans, should be avoided in children when alternative techniques are available. MRI is preferable in many circumstances.