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“Bloodless, radiopediatrics threatens to disappear today”

Tribune. The degradation of the pediatric care offer, the practice of liberal pediatricians and pediatrics at public hospitals was denounced in 2020 by an IGAS report. The current bronchiolitis epidemic is bringing down already exhausted teams and sounding the alarm again. All pediatric specialties are affected, including surgery, anesthesia, child psychiatry and imaging, performed by pediatric radiologists.

What is a pediatric radiologist? He is a specialist in child imaging, a radiologist who works with children, sometimes from fetal life, until adolescence. They perform diagnostic procedures (radiography, scanner, ultrasound, MRI) and for some also interventional radiology procedures (set of percutaneous treatment techniques guided by the image to avoid more cumbersome surgical procedures).

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Pediatric radiologists are also those who assess the relevance and choice of imaging examinations. When the examination is indicated, they implement distraction techniques (games, music, simulators, conversational hypnosis) in order to limit the use of sedative medications or general anesthesia as much as possible. Pediatric radiologists also participate in multidisciplinary consultation meetings and ethics meetings to collegially decide on the best therapeutic strategies for a seriously ill child or infant.

A decreasing supply

Pediatric pathologies require special medical and technical know-how. Referred by your general practitioner or your pediatrician, it is a specialized pediatric radiologist or a radiologist trained in pediatric radiology that you meet, in town or in hospital, when your child limps, breaks his wrist, has a stomach ache, back, head, has a disturbing mass, but also if he is staying in pediatric intensive care, suffers from cancer, a rare disease, has received an organ transplant, in order to make a diagnosis or to contribute to the evolutionary monitoring …

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Today, the likelihood that you will be able to benefit from the advice of such a specialist trained in pediatric radiology is dangerously diminishing. The Francophone Society of Pediatric and Prenatal Imaging (SFIPP) deplores that only 150 specialists are currently listed on the whole of the territory, that is to say 1.7% of radiologists, while the population of 0-19 years old represents 25% of the French population! Bloodless, this subspecialty within the radiological specialty is now threatening to disappear.

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