Having to undergo a diagnostic imaging scan can pose various questions. We are here to provide the answers to all our patients concerns to help them feel comfortable before their procedure and aware of the scan they are undergoing.
An important question our patients often have about diagnostic imaging scans is: how will radiation emissions harm my health? Because this is such a huge concern for many patients, we thought it would be a great idea to delve a little deeper into the topic.
Experts are agreed that for small imaging procedures such as x-rays or mammography, the risk of radiation exposure is very minimal. With higher radiation dose tests like CT and nuclear imaging, though, there’s a bit more concern.
The Research Behind Radiation Emissions
We found a great article that we were able to pull some information from, and it explains how higher doses of radiation can potentially lead to cancer:
“The radiation you get from x-ray, CT, and nuclear imaging is ionizing radiation — high-energy wavelengths or particles that penetrate tissue to reveal the body's internal organs and structures. Ionizing radiation can damage DNA, and although your cells repair most of the damage, they sometimes do the job imperfectly, leaving small areas of "misrepair." The result is DNA mutations that may contribute to cancer years down the road.”
It’s been noted that children who are exposed to high-dose radiation for cancer treatment are more likely to develop additional cancers as they age, but there’s little evidence to prove that healthy adults who have medical imaging procedures are particularly affected.
How To Take Precautions
Nevertheless, it’s highly recommended that patients try to limit the amount of radiation exposure they receive. Keep track of any medical imaging procedures you’ve had over the years so that your doctor can get an idea of how much radiation you’ve already been exposed to and keep that in mind when they’re proposing treatment options for injuries. Also, don’t request high-dose procedures unless a doctor recommends it. Many people request a CT scan simply for “peace of mind”, to make absolutely sure that their doctor didn’t miss anything. Doing so only results in unnecessary exposure to radiation.
Radiation emissions are a valid concern for those undergoing a popular diagnostic imaging scan such as an x-ray or CT scan. We hope you were able to gain a better understand to how radiation emissions may affect your health and the precautions you can take. If you have questions about radiation or the modalities we offer at Rosetta Radiology, give us a call at 212-744-5538.