Radiology and Imaging Patient and Family Resources

Radiology and imaging studies at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles provide your child’s care team with essential information for making treatment decisions. We offer a broad range of options and a child-friendly atmosphere. Knowing what to expect helps your child and family have the best possible experience.

Radiology and Imaging: What to Expect

What your child may experience before, during and after the scan depends on the type of imaging study or procedure. We provide you with as much information as possible and answer any questions you may have.

Here’s what to expect:

Preparing for test day

Depending on the test, preparing your child may involve:

  • Stopping certain medications: Your child’s doctor will let you know if this is necessary. Do not stop your child’s medications unless a doctor tells you to do so.
  • Arriving with an empty stomach: Your child may need to stop eating and drinking a few hours before the test.
  • Assessing your child’s health status: If your child has recently been ill, even if it’s just a cold, it’s important to let us know. For your child’s safety and to ensure the best images, we may recommend rescheduling the test.
  • Dressing appropriately. Your child should wear loose, comfortable clothes. A medical gown may be necessary, so it’s helpful to wear tops that are easy to take off.
  • Bringing items from home: You are welcome to bring toys and other comfort items, but your child may not be able to take them in the procedure rooms.

Immediately before and during the test

We offer a child-friendly experience by:

  • Providing age-appropriate support: Our Child Life specialists are on hand to ease your child through stressful moments like needle pokes. These specialists undergo extensive training enabling them to tailor their approach to your child’s needs.
  • Allowing you to stay with your child: One family member may be allowed in the procedure room for certain tests. These include X-rays, computed tomography (CT) scans and ultrasounds.
  • Providing entertainment: During some tests, such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in older children, we provide special goggles. The goggles make it possible to watch a movie during the test.
  • Making it easy to talk with our team: If your child is awake during the test, technologists explain each step of the procedure and how long it will last. Your child can also talk to them and ask questions through special speakers.

After the test

Here’s what happens once your child’s test is complete:

  • Recovering: Children can often resume daily activities after testing. If your child undergoes sedation, recovery may include taking it easy for the rest of the day.
  • Getting results: After the radiologist completes their interpretation, we send the results to the provider who requested the study. In most cases, results are also available on the MyChildren'sLA patient portal.

COVID-19 Testing

To ensure the safety of patients, their families and our staff, Children’s Hospital requires COVID-19 testing before certain procedures. This includes some radiology and imaging studies.

Testing is available at Children’s Hospital and in many convenient locations throughout the community.

Many types of COVID-19 testing are available, but some provide more reliable results than others. This is why Children’s Hospital accepts only certain types of test results. Read our COVID-19 test requirements for patients.

Comprehensive Radiology and Imaging Services for Children

We offer the full range of radiology and imaging studies at our main hospital, in one convenient location. Some of these services are also available at locations throughout the Los Angeles region. Find out more about Radiology and Imaging.