Pediatric Retinoblastoma Diagnostic Tests

When a parent or guardian first identifies certain symptoms, the child will need to undergo pediatric retinoblastoma diagnostic tests as soon as possible. Pediatric retinoblastoma diagnostic tests can provide an accurate diagnosis, as well as help doctors to develop the best treatment plans for each child’s particular case. After initial pediatric retinoblastoma diagnostic tests lead to a retinoblastoma diagnosis, doctors may wish to perform advanced testing for additional confirmation and evaluation of the cancer’s stage, size, and location.

Physical Exam

The first pediatric retinoblastoma diagnostic tests will typically be a physical exam. During the physical exam, the child’s eye doctor may dilate the eyes using special eye drops. The eye drops will cause the pupil to enlarge. This allows the doctor to examine the pupil closely to determine signs of pediatric retinoblastoma.

Full Medical History

In addition to a physical exam, the eye doctor will typically ask for a full medical history of the child. The doctor will ask if there is a family history of retinoblastoma or other cancers. Additionally, the doctor will ask questions to determine if the child is exhibiting any other signs or symptoms of retinoblastoma. Due to the ability of retinoblastoma to be passed on genetically, the doctor may decide to order additional pediatric retinoblastoma diagnostic tests based on family history.

Pediatric Retinoblastoma Diagnostic Imaging

Pediatric retinoblastoma diagnostic tests will often include diagnostic imaging. Diagnostic imaging tests create images of the child’s internal eye structures. These images are typically created with the use of x-rays, sound waves and magnetic fields. Some pediatric retinoblastoma diagnostic imaging tests involve the injection of radioactive substances to create a better picture.

Ultrasound of the Eye

Ultrasound of the eye uses sound waves to create pictures of tissues, such as the inner structures of the eye. Ultrasound is painless and relatively simple. For these reasons, it is one of the most common pediatric retinoblastoma diagnostic tests.

CT Scan

Computerized tomography, or CT, is a type of pediatric retinoblastoma diagnostic test that uses X-rays to create images. CT scans are more advanced than standard X-rays. This is because a CT scan involves several images taken as the scanner rotates around the child. This allows for more detailed cross-sectional pictures.

MRI Scan

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) uses radio waves and magnets to create images. Therefore, no radiation is involved, as with a CT scan. MRI scans are also useful for observing the child’s spinal cord and brain if needed.

Bone Scan

Bone scan is a type of pediatric retinoblastoma diagnostic test that helps to determine whether or not the cancer has spread to the child’s skull or other bones. Typically, a bone scan is not required. Doctors will order a bone scan if there is strong reason to suspect that the pediatric retinoblastoma has spread from its original location.


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