Radiology and Imaging

There’s no place like CHOC Children’s when it comes to radiology and imaging services for kids. We are the only specialized imaging facility in Orange County just for children and offer a wide range of radiology services.

At CHOC Children’s, we make sure your child is comfortable and safe by using the most advanced equipment available with the lowest amount of radiation. Many children are imaged in adult facilities where radiation doses can be up to 50 percent higher than at CHOC. Our equipment is calibrated for kids, not adults.

Patient getting ready for her CT scan

The CHOC Difference

patient at radiology clinic

  • We offer a full range of specialized pediatric imaging services, including ultrasound, X-ray, fluoroscopy, MRI and CT scans.
  • CHOC Children’s has been designated a Diagnostic Imaging Center of Excellence® (DICOE) by the American College of Radiology (ACR) for best-quality imaging practices and diagnostic care.
  • Radiation doses on CHOC equipment can be up to 50 percent lower than community hospitals or independent imaging centers. Get more information on how CHOC uses the lowest amount of radiation possible in our imaging exams.
  • CHOC uses only board-certified pediatric radiologists and specially trained pediatric radiology technologists, nurses and child life specialists.
  • All radiology staff undergo age-specific training annually to learn how to work and communicate with children of varying ages.
  • CHOC is only one of a small number of medical centers in the country to have child life specialists working in a dedicated pediatric radiology and imaging department.

Imaging Exams

At CHOC Children’s, we are proud to offer the very latest imaging technology to Orange County’s children. Our associates are experts in working with children. Alongside our child life specialists, our staff strives to make the imaging experience as pleasant as possible. Our goal is to get the very best images using the smallest amount of radiation in the quickest time possible. CHOC radiology features the most advanced imaging equipment available — much of which is found in but a handful of children’s hospitals across the country.

What to Expect

From the imaging suites to our family lobby, the CHOC Children's radiology department has been designed to be a calm and inviting unit for children of all ages--infants to teens and young adults. While you wait, our lobby has movies, toys and a Wii to keep your child occupied. We also have a variety of private areas that are used for conferences with doctors and families, and for patients to work with our child life specialists or get a little quiet time before or after an exam.

CHOC associates work one-on-one with each patient to make the imaging experience as happy and pleasant as possible. These guidelines will help make you understand what to expect before, during and after your child's appointment.

All imaging services and examinations must be ordered by your child's doctor. Please have the doctor's written prescription with you when making the appointment. The prescription must also be brought with you for any scheduled or walk-in appointment.

A preauthorization from your insurance company (in addition to the written doctor prescription) is required for most radiology exams. Preauthorization from your insurance company should obtained prior to scheduling an appointment. Please contact your insurance company or child's doctor directly to make sure preauthorization is obtained.

X-rays are done on a walk-in basis and appointments are not needed. However, you will need a doctor's prescription for the X-ray with you when you arrive. Also, some insurance companies require preauthorization for X-rays. Please call your insurance company before you arrive to arrange preauthorization if needed. Learn more about making an appointment and walk-in services.
Outpatient scans and examinations, other than X-rays, are done by appointment only. Please call our scheduling office to make an appointment. Our hours are Monday to Friday 8 a.m. - 6 p.m. Learn more about making an appointment and walk-in services.

Your child must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian for ALL radiology appointments. Other family members, babysitters or friends cannot legally bring your child to any radiology appointments.

If a parent or legal guardian cannot bring your child to the appointment, legal arrangements must be made with our office PRIOR to your child's appointment. We can provide you with a legal document that must be signed and notarized authorizing someone else to bring your child. A photo identification for the parent, legal guardian or authorized legal designee is require at check-in.

Children should be kept as calm and comfortable as possible prior to the procedure. Please have your child dressed in comfortable clothing like sweats or pajamas with an elastic or drawstring waist. Children should not wear clothing with metal buttons, snaps or buckles. Parents and guardians should be sure to follow any pre-examination guidelines (like not eating or drinking) discussed with the child's doctor or the radiology department staff. We also ask that children remove all jewelry before coming to the hospital.

Depending on the type of examination that your child is having, you will be instructed to arrive 30-90 minutes prior to the scheduled appointment. A nurse or radiology technologist will contact you one to two days before your child's appointment to give you detailed instructions and information about your child's examination.

Please first check in with the reception area of the hospital's main lobby. You will then be directed to the radiology department lobby.

Legal photo identification from the parent or legal guardian is required at check-in.

One parent or legal guardian is allowed with your child during the entire appointment. Other children or family members are now allowed outside of the main lobby area. If you cannot be with your child during the exam, CHOC will have two radiology staff members with your child at all times.
Although getting an ultrasound, fluoroscopy, X-ray, CT scan or MRI may not seem like a big deal for many adults, these exams can be stressful for children. We ask that caregivers find other arrangements for the patient's siblings the day of the examination. The patient will need his or her caregiver's full attention and other children are not allowed in the imaging area. Children under 18 must remain in the lobby area and cannot be left unattended without an adult.
If you think your child will need a child life specialist, please let us know at the time of making the appointment. This will ensure that we can book your appointment when we know a child life specialist will be available.
Our radiology staff will escort your child and one parent or legal guardian to the preparation area to get ready for the test. A technologist will do a pre-screening for the test and go over the exam. We will also do a screening on the parent to make sure that it is safe for the parent to be in the examination room.
Your child's doctor will call to inform you about the results of the exam two to seven business days after the exam. If you have any questions, please call the doctor's office directly.

Child Life

CHOC Children’s is proud to be one of only a few medical centers in the country to have child life specialists working in a dedicated pediatric radiology and imaging department. Our radiology associates work with our child life specialists to help children of all ages—babies through young adults—feel comfortable and safe.

Child life specialists, nurses and technologists use fun distractions like videos, toys and activities to help children feel more at ease with the imaging process. Once patients are comfortable, our staff uses play medical equipment, pictures and interactive tools to help children understand what to expect during the imaging exam. During the procedure, our associates help patients through the imaging process by:

  • Blowing bubbles, talking or singing with the child.
  • Providing music to listen to on an MP3 player during an X-ray, ultrasound, or CT scan. (Depending upon the area of the body being imaged, this may not be an option for all children.)
  • Providing special goggles to use during MRI scans. Video goggles allow a patient to watch his or her favorite movie or television show while undergoing their MRI scan. The goggles are only used at a handful of facilities in the United States and have been proven to reduce the number of patients needing sedation for MRI procedures.

child life specialist showing mri machine to young patinet

young radiology patient with pet therapy dog

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Appointments and Location

CHOC Children’s Radiology Department

Appointments are needed for all imaging services, except X-rays. X-ray appointments are walk-in only. However, if your child needs special accommodations, an appointment will be made for your convenience.

How to make a radiology appointment (other than X-ray): Appointments for radiology services can be made by calling 888-770-2462. Our helpful associates will assist in making the appointment and provide details on any special instructions the patient must follow prior to the examination.

X-ray walk-in services: Walk-in hours are Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Please note that a written doctor’s prescription for the x-ray is needed at the time of walk-in, as well as insurance authorization (approval), if required by your insurance company.

A legal parent or guardian must accompany your child to all radiology appointments, including X-ray walk-ins, and must have photo identification. Other family members, friends or caretakers are not allowed to bring your child to a radiology appointment.

We are located on the 1st floor of the Bill Holmes Tower.

1201 W. La Veta Ave. | Orange, CA 92868

Phone: 888-770-2462