Medical imaging plays a significant role in the diagnosis and detection of child abuse. Child abuse is the third leading cause of death in children aged between 1 and 4 years. Such staggering statistics make child abuse a national priority. Failure to make a correct diagnosis may result in serious consequences. Diagnostic imaging procedures that support child abuse allegations in a court of law should comply with the highest quality standards while minimizing the child’s exposure to radiation. This article examines the role of medical imaging in suspected child abuse cases. Specifically, the content discusses diagnostic radiography procedures including the skeletal survey, common musculoskeletal injuries limited to fractures, pathologies that mimic abuse, and the radiographer’s role in suspected child abuse cases.
After reading this article, the participant should be able to:
- Discuss the role of medical imaging in cases of suspected child abuse, including the various modalities used.
- Identify signs and symptoms of abuse, including clinical indications, when caring for the pediatric patient.
- Describe common fractures associated with child abuse.
- Differentiate between abuse and pathologies that mimic abuse.
- Define the radiographer’s role when providing care for the abused child.
Categories: X-Ray/Radiography, Digital Radiography