Children's Health and Wellness

Evaluation Procedures for Children

What are standard evaluation procedures?

Before a treatment or rehabilitation protocol can be established, your child's doctor must first determine the reason for, and source of, your child's condition. This typically involves a comprehensive physical examination and a detailed medical history. During this initial gathering of information, be sure to notify your child's doctor of any other illnesses, injuries, or complaints that have been associated with the pain or condition, as well as any previous treatments or medications prescribed. Preliminary diagnostic tests may then follow, including:

Picture of a female radiologist reading an x-ray

  • Blood tests

  • X-rays. A diagnostic test that uses invisible electromagnetic energy beams to produce images of internal tissues, bones, and organs onto film.

Advanced evaluation procedures

Children who require further evaluation may undergo 1 or more of the following:

  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). A diagnostic procedure that uses a combination of large magnets, radiofrequencies, and a computer to produce detailed images of organs and structures within the body.

  • Computed tomography scan (also called a CT or CAT scan). A diagnostic imaging procedure that uses a combination of X-rays and computer technology to produce horizontal, or axial, images (often called slices) of the body. A CT scan shows detailed images of any part of the body, including the bones, muscles, fat, and organs. CT scans are more detailed than general X-rays.

  • EMG (electromyogram). A test used to evaluate nerve and muscle function.

  • Bone scan. A nuclear imaging method to evaluate any degenerative and/or arthritic changes in the joints; to detect bone diseases and tumors; to determine the cause of bone inflammation.

  • Ultrasound. This is becoming a common test for evaluating musculoskeletal complaints.

After the evaluative information is collected and reviewed, your child's orthopaedist will discuss with you all treatment options and help you select the best treatment plan to enable your child to live an active and functional life.

Online Source: What is a Physiatrist? American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitationhttp://www.aapmr.org/patients/Pages/default.aspx
Online Source: Glossary of Terms, American College of Radiologyhttp://www.radiologyinfo.org/en/glossary/glossary1.cfm
Online Source: Musculoskeletal Ultrasonography: Nomenclature, Technical Considerations, Validation, and standardization, UpToDatehttp://www.uptodate.com
Online Editor: Geller, Arlene
Online Medical Reviewer: Bass, Pat F. III, MD, MPH
Online Medical Reviewer: MMI board-certified, academically affiliated clinician
Date Last Reviewed: 10/26/2013
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