The primary objective of diagnostic radiology is to detect pathologic anatomy and to define its extent in the greatest detail possible with the minimum number of tests. The subsequent articles describe approaches for examining anatomic regions utilizing new imaging modalities in order to provide information pertinent to diseases seen in children. The emphasis will be on techniques appropriate to the anatomy and suspected pathology.
The approaches are based on the belief that the understanding of anatomy, disease patterns, and the advantages and limitations of the available imaging procedures will provide the referring physician with the most detailed and pertinent information possible with the minimum of testing, radiation exposure, trauma, and expense to the child and his family. These articles will emphasize the roles of ultrasound and computed tomography - relatively new techniques that are taking their place among the more traditional imaging procedures for specific disease and anatomic regions.
Ultrasound is a very useful modality for studying masses and changes in the normal homogenicity of tissue in certain organs. This modality is an excellent method for distinguishing cystic from solid masses. The introduction of computerized analysis of ultrasound may, in the coming years, increase the sensitivity of the technique and resolve some of the current difficulties. Noncardiac ultrasound in the chest has limited application but at times is very helpful in defining tissue characteristics, which leads to proper management of the patient.
Computed tomography (CT), although introduced only in the past several years, has already become established as the definitive study in suspected tumors of the brain and other neurologic diseases, as described in February in PEDlATRlC ANNALS' first issue of "Deep-Tissue Diagnosis." In this issue, it will be demonstrated how CT clearly defines normal and pathologic anatomy in the abdomen and chest.