CT Scans and Radiation Exposure

CT Scans and Radiation Exposure
Q:
CT Scans and Radiation Exposure

Why had the National Cancer Institute of the US suggested to physicians to decrease unnecessary CT Scans in children?

A:

Dr. Greene’s Answer:

A typical x-ray delivers 0.01 mSv (millisievert) of radiation. CT scans give us much more information, but they can also deliver as much radiation as getting 300 regular x-rays — or 600, if the CT scanner has not been adjusted for children! Even though CT scans are a small minority of the total number of x-rays done, in the US they are responsible for about 65 percent of all medical radiation exposure.

In order to understand how this relates to day-to-day radiation exposure, I looked to information from the American College of Radiology. They have found that the average person living in the United States is exposed to about 3 mSv annually from “naturally occurring radioactive materials and cosmic radiation from outer space.”

Read More From This Series:
CT Scan Defined
CT Scan, Ultrasound or MRI?
CT Scan Safety
CT Scans and Radiation Exposure
CT Scan Risks
Higher Risks in Children
Who Should Receive a CT Scan?
X-Ray or a CT Scan?
Alternatives to a CT Scan
When Should a CT Scan be Performed?
Important Tip to Reduce to Radiation
Questions to Ask before Every CT Scan
Other Radiation Exposures
Measures That Radiologists Should Adhere to When Administering a CT Scan
CT Scans and Cancer
When are MRIs not Practical?
What is Ionizing Radiation?
Who are Radiologists?

Reviewed by: Khanh-Van Le-Bucklin, Liat Simkhay Snyder
Last reviewed: February 14, 2008
Dr. Alan Greene

Article written by

Dr. Greene is the founder of DrGreene.com (cited by the AMA as “the pioneer physician Web site”), a practicing pediatrician, father of four, & author of Raising Baby Green & Feeding Baby Green. He appears frequently in the media including such venues as the The New York Times, the TODAY Show, Good Morning America, & the Dr. Oz Show.

 

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