CT Scans and Radiation Exposure

CT Scans and Radiation Exposure
CT Scans and Radiation Exposure

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


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.