X-rays – Are They Safe? by Sharron Horton
Diagnostic imaging studies can be extremely valuable in the diagnosis of illness and disease. People often ask questions about the potential risks associated with these procedures. The general risks associated with certain diagnostic imaging are important and you should discuss these risks and any questions you have with your doctor. An X-ray is a quick, painless test that produces images of the structures inside your body. The amount of radiation you’re exposed to during an X-ray depends on the tissue or organ being examined. Sensitivity to the radiation depends on your age; children are more sensitive than adults.
We offer X-rays at Marque to rule out things from brakes and fractures of bone to pneumonia. In most cases, the exposure to radiation is generally so small that the benefit of the study far outweighs the risk due to radiation exposure. It’s important to remember that we are exposed to radiation from natural sources all the time. The average person in the U.S. may receive an effective dose of about 3 millisieverts* (mSv) per year from naturally occurring radioactive materials and cosmic radiation from outer space. Simply put, the radiation exposure from one chest X-ray as equivalent to the amount of radiation exposure one experiences from our natural surroundings in 10 days.
Technicians should use all precautions to protect patients from excess radiation such as wearing a heavy lead apron. Images are ready rather quickly (usually less than 10 minutes). It’s significant to note that an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging), MRA (magnetic resonance angiography) and ultrasound (or sonogram) do not involve radiation. Another way to keep yourself safe is to keep track of your X-ray exams, including dental exams. Avoid repeat exams by asking for copies of the images which are most likely burned to a CD. If for some reason you must repeat an exam, (i.e. very small fractures that weren’t seen on initial visit), remember that the risks are low and obtaining a true diagnosis outweighs the risk of exposure. Please let your physician and technologist know if your pregnant or may be expecting.
The information provided is for general interest only and should not be misconstrued as a diagnosis, prognosis or treatment recommendation. This information does not in any way constitute the practice of medicine, or any other health care profession. Readers are directed to consult their health care provider regarding their specific health situation. Marque Medical is not liable for any action taken by a reader based upon this information.