X-ray: Purpose, Procedure

Medical imaging can also help with decisions about treatment and future care for the problem. As technology advances, medical imaging can inform the doctor of internal problems that a basic external examination would not detect. Medical imaging is absolutely necessary when tracking the progress of an ongoing disease. MRIs and CT scans allow the doctor to monitor the effectiveness of treatment and adjust protocols as needed. The detailed information generated by medical images provides patients with better and more comprehensive care.

This means that no amount of radiation is considered too much for a patient when the procedure is justified by the doctor. Several international organizations have drawn up guidelines and recommendations based on scientific evidence. Every effort should be made to reduce the patient’s exposure to radiation. A principle known as ALARA — As low as reasonably achievable — guides practices. A study that has no medical purpose is inappropriate, no matter how small the dose. Medical and dental X-rays use very small amounts of radiation and expose only the smallest part of the body needed to obtain the image to detect a health problem.

Quality assurance of facilities and training of personnel with a focus on radiation safety are crucial for applying radiation protection principles to X-ray imaging studies. Each of these X-rays would add less than 1 in 1,000,000 to the lifetime risk of cancer. A CT scan of the abdomen or chest would be the equivalent of 2-3 years of background radiation for the whole body, or 4-5 years for the abdomen or chest, increasing the lifetime risk of cancer between 1 per 1,000 and 1 per 10,000. This compares to about a 40% chance that a U.S. citizen will develop cancer during his or her lifetime. For example, the effective trunk dose of a chest CT scan is about 5 mSv and the absorbed dose is about 14 mGy.

Patients undergoing interventional procedures requiring fluoroscopy of an hour or more may experience radiation-induced skin lesions in very rare cases. Diagnostic X-rays and nuclear medicine exams lead to a slightly increased risk of cancer. This risk increases with the size of the dose and the number of procedures.

Qualified physicians and other specialized health professionals can use their professional expertise and discretion in deciding how much radiation to use to diagnose or treat a patient. For that reason, the use of radiation in medical imaging is exempt from federal dose limits. They allow the dentist to look inside and between the teeth and check the general condition of the jaw and facial bones. During a dental X-ray, the radiation passes through the cheek and gums and creates an image using the special X-ray film held between the teeth.

They are still carried out, but should only be done after discussing the risks and benefits with the child’s family. An X-ray in a pregnant woman offers no known risks to the baby if the area of the body being photographed is not the abdomen or pelvis. In general, if images of the abdomen and pelvis are needed, doctors prefer tests that do not use radiation, such as magnetic resonance imaging or ultrasound.

Keep in mind that the radiation doses used in medical radiological imaging examinations, such as CT scans and X-ray scans, are much lower than those used in radiation oncology, which uses radiation as a therapy to treat cancer. Tissue effects such as cataracts, redness of the skin and hair loss, which occur at relatively high levels of radiation exposure and are rare for many types x-ray generator of imaging studies. The use of X-rays as a treatment is known as radiation therapy and is largely used to treat cancer; It requires higher doses of radiation than those received for imaging alone. X-rays are used to treat skin cancers using lower-energy X-rays, while higher-energy X-rays are used to treat cancers in the body, such as the brain, lungs, prostate and breast.

X-rays from multiple angles are needed so that patients undergoing diagnostic mammograms are exposed to more radiation. The risk of not having a necessary mammogram is greater than the risks of radiation. Mammograms are a valuable tool in the early detection of breast cancer. A fetus is considered more sensitive than adults or children to the possible adverse effects of radiation.