CT Scans – Higher Risks in Children

Can it be harmful to adults as well? If yes, why the emphasis on children?

Dr. Greene’s Answer:

Radiation can certainly be harmful to adults as well. Unnecessary CT scans should be reduced at all ages, but this is especially important for children because children are far more sensitive to the risks of radiation than are adults. A young baby may be 10 times more sensitive than a middle-aged adult to the same dose.

And even when kids and adults are exposed to the same strength CT beams, kids get significantly higher doses because their thinner bodies allow the beam to penetrate them with higher intensity.

Also, children who are scanned usually have many more years of their lives ahead of them, giving them longer to develop any cancer a scan might cause.

Read More From This Series:
CT Scan Defined
CT Scan, Ultrasound or MRI?
CT Scan Safety
CT Scans and Radiation
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?

Dr. Alan Greene

Dr. Greene is a practicing physician, author, national and international TEDx speaker, and global health advocate. He is a graduate of Princeton University and University of California San Francisco.

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  1. Patvir

    My Daughter 6.5 yr old has abdomen pain for about a month. She was given antibiotics but pain has reduced but not gone.

    She had an Ultrasound which shows 12mm lymph node near appendix, but ultrasound doctor mentioned to rule out appendicitis. But Padetrician I had shown recommend CT scan.

    I had changed 3 doctors, but they just say get a CT scan to identify root cause, without thinking of radiations which I fear can cause harm in future.

    Her blood reports have shown WBC count at 4100. Currently she is taking Spetran Syrup twice.

    Do we go ahead for CT scan? Can we avoid this or redo Ultra sound.


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