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Pediatrics/CT scan risk


Dear doctor, When our little girl was born, she had a hematoma at the back of her head. So her pediatric doctor asked us to take her for a CT scan. She was 1 week old when we did the scan. They said she was ok and the hematoma was caused during normal vaginal delivery and they asked us not to worry about it. Now she is 3.5 years old. Recently I read that CT scan can cause cancer in future. I am extremely worried about this. Feeling guilty that we did not ask more questions at that time and could have skipped the scan. Is it a lot of risk she has from that scan?

Hi, Lavanya,

There is some, low risk of CT scans.  This is especially seen in children who due to chronic health issues, have repeated scans.  One CT scan at one week is not anything to be especially worried about.  I am not sure what kind of "hematoma" this was.  If it was a cephalohematoma or a caput succidanem, two of the more common types, we seldom, if ever would do anything but clinically follow.  If it was a sub-galeal hemorrhage, a deeper and therefore more significant bleed, a CT might be appropriate.  

Fortunately in the USA, we have low dose radiation protocols that lessen the amount of radiation in this test.

Good luck, Dr. Olson


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David Olson, MD


I would be happy to attempt to answer any questions about general pediatric topics, either medical issues or behavioral issues. This would include all the various questions one receives in a busy pediatric practice. I`m a board certified pediatrician in northern Michigan and have been in practice for over 15 years. I enjoy the teaching role I have in our practice and would enjoy the opportunity to help others with their pediatric problems.

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