Pediatric imaging in Clark County

Sunrise Children's Hospital offers a state-of-the-art pediatric diagnostic center in Las Vegas with first-class staff, equipment and resources to help provide a comfortable imaging experience. Our staff of board-certified and fellowship-trained pediatric radiologists is specially trained to read and perform all varieties of pediatric diagnostic imaging results and procedures.

For more information about our diagnostic imaging offerings, call (855) 445-2246.

Types of services offered

Sunrise Children's Hospital has taken the pledge to reduce the imaging radiation dose for children. As such, we use low-radiation technology whenever possible, given the harmful effects that prolonged radiation can have on children.

Covering every possible scenario to ensure you and your child's needs are met, Sunrise Children's Hospital offers a full spectrum of diagnostic imaging services, including:


X-rays are tests that use electromagnetic radiation to generate images of bones and tissue inside the body. While similar to visible light, X-rays have high energy able to pass through the body, optimal for detecting dental issues, bone fractures, foreign objects, pneumonia and certain tumors and abnormalities. While the risks are very low, x-rays do use ionizing radiation, which can potentially harm living cells. Children are generally more sensitive to ionizing radiation and do possess a relatively higher risk for developing cancer over time. As such, before a scan, parents should consult with their doctor to ensure that machine settings have been adjusted for children.

CAT scans

A computerized tomography scan, otherwise known as a CT or CAT scan, creates a cross-sectional image of the body through the use of computers and rotating X-ray machines. These scans are able to give patients a more detailed internal image than a traditional X-ray, including blood vessels and soft tissue. CAT scans closely examine internal structures and are often employed to diagnose potential infections, cancerous tumors, internal injuries or the effectiveness of certain medications. Accomplished through ingesting a special dye so that internal structures appear white on scans, CAT scans do expose patients to more radiation than typical X-rays. Cancer risks are increased for children, specifically when viewing the chest and abdomen, so a doctor's consultation is critical for ensuring that a CAT scan is right for your child.


MRI scans, or magnetic resonance imaging, utilize magnets, computers and radio waves to analyze internal structures without the use of ionizing radiation. These scans are created via patients entering a large, cylindrical machine which is able to create 3D images of organs and tissue. Given that it utilizes less radiation than CAT scans and X-rays, MRI's can be the most advantageous type of imaging service for children, if their condition calls for it. MRI's are typically used for diagnosing brain and spinal cord abnormalities, certain heart issues, internal organ disease, tumors/cysts, as well as assessing aggravated disks and ligaments. While CAT scans are more immediate, MRI's are typically more detailed. For more general imaging of traumas or internal organs, a CAT scan will more commonly be a physician's designated course of action.

Nuclear medicine

While MRI and CAT scans are extremely valuable, sometimes more functional data is required than they can provide, and this is where nuclear medicine becomes so important. Nuclear medicine, such as PET scans, or, positron emission tomography, uses trace ingested radioactive material to help diagnose and treat abnormalities early in the progression of diseases such as cancer. Though similar in practice to a CAT scan, the main difference is that nuclear medicine addresses organ function and a CAT scan addresses organ appearance. Nuclear medicine can be used for analyzing the spread of disease, or for analyzing the functioning capacity of major organs such as the lungs, brain, gallbladder, kidneys, thyroids and bowels. Nuclear medicine is a longstanding practice, and there are no known long-term adverse effects from such low-dose radiation exposure.


Ultrasounds use echoing sound waves to create sonograms, or, real-time pictures, of organs, tissues, and other internal structures. Advantages include that they use no radiation, they display real-time anatomic images that are able to demonstrate abnormalities only seen with motion, they can display higher resolution images of small, well-defined superficial structural areas and patients are not required to enter into a confined space, as with an MRI or CT scan. However, ultrasounds do not show structures inside joints, and an MRI is a better option for evaluating large areas of cartilage, bone or other damaged structures inside and around joints.

Special procedures

Special Procedures is a diagnostic and minimally invasive practice that uses advanced technology and precise techniques to treat issues without surgery. Most special procedures take 30-45 minutes and patients are able to go home shortly thereafter. Examples of these procedures include:

  • Arthrography
  • Back and joint injections
  • Bone densitometry
  • Breast biopsies
  • Fluid drainage
  • Lumbar puncture

Pediatric sedation

Many children naturally display fear or anxiety when going to a hospital. As many procedures may require your child to remain still for a short period of time, your doctor may elect to have the exam completed using smaller, safe doses of sedating medication. As such, Pediatric Intensivists are always available to children requiring sedation for procedures such as an MRI, CT, etc. As patient safety is always our top priority, our dedicated team of pediatric nurses starts with the lowest dose of medication to ensure maximum comfort and desired effects.

How to prepare

A pediatric nurse from Sunrise Children’s Hospital will contact you a couple of days before the procedure to confirm your appointment time and additional information. In most cases, your child will not be allowed to eat or drink anything after midnight to minimize the risk of complications.

Call your doctor to determine if pediatric sedation services are right for your child or if you have any concerns.