Image Gently launches the Think-A-head Campaign

The Image Gently Alliance, American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP), AANS/CNS Joint Section on Pediatric Neurosurgery and allied medical organizations have launched the “Think A-Head” campaign to help providers appropriately obtain and perform computed tomography (CT) scans in children with minor head injuries. The effort will also equip providers and parents with resources to help them communicate effectively when CT scans may (or may not) be the best option to gain proper diagnosis.

The “Think A-Head” campaign provides tools and resources to:

  • Help providers ensure ordering patterns comply with latest evidence-based medical guidelines
  • Help providers explain to parents/caregivers why an imaging scan is (or is not) necessary
  • Help parents ask questions to better inform decision making if their child is prescribed a head CT scan
  • Help imaging professionals use appropriate exam radiation dose

Physicians – If kids hurt their heads, help families make informed decisions:

  • Know when an imaging test is (and is not) necessary
  • Explain why a head CT scan is (or is not) the right choice
  • Discuss possible alternative exams
  • Discuss the benefits as well as the risks of the CT scan
  • Child-size the CT radiation dose (where necessary)

Parents – Be your child’s advocate: Ask these questions if your child is prescribed a head CT scan:

  • How will this exam improve my child’s care?
  • What are the benefits and risks of having this test?
  • What will my child experience before, during and after the exam?
  • Are there alternative tests that don’t use radiation (such as brain MRI)?
  • Will the radiation dose in this exam be “child sized”?

Imaging Providers – When performing imaging CT exams:

  • Optimize, or “child-size,” the amount of radiation used
    • Do not over-scan:
         - Scan only when necessary
         - Scan only the indicated region
         - Scan once; multiphase scanning (pre-and post-contrast, delayed exams) is rarely helpful
  • Be a team player:
    • Involve medical physicists to review pediatric CT techniques
    • Involve technologists to optimize scanning
The Image Gently Alliance website ( contains the latest research and educational materials to aid radiologists, radiologic technologists, medical physicists and other imaging stakeholders in determining the appropriate radiation techniques to be used in the imaging of children and how the radiation received from these exams may affect pediatric patients over time. Health care providers are urged to visit the Image Gently site and pledge to do their part to image gently. Image Gently also offers resources for parents ( about pediatric imaging (including frequently asked questions).

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