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Joined: 03 Feb 2008
Posts: 1

PostPosted: Sun Feb 03, 2008 8:20 am    Post subject: Too Much Radiation ? Reply with quote

Hi -

In the past month, I've had a CT of the abdomen, a PET scan, a CT of the chest, and an ultrasound of the gall bladder.

My GI now wants me to have a HIDA CCK scan of the gall bladder.

I'm worried about the amount of radiation my body is taking in. Should I be ?


Joined: 23 May 2006
Posts: 1083
Location: New Haven, CT

PostPosted: Sun Feb 03, 2008 8:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ultrasound involves no radiation of any kind.

The SHORT answer is that it is unlikely that your hair is going to fall out from having had the three procedures you named above. That said ...

Lately, the news is full of "NEWS FLASH" kind of topics that frighten people about overutilizaton of radiation (especially CT). It's a scary topic, and concern is a rational response. Panic is not.

The use of radiation for medical diagnosis (like all medicine) is a balancing act - the need for accurate information/treatment vs the risks of the procedure. (Let's face it, even aspirin can be fatal if the dose is high enough)

The physicians who interpret these procedures - radiologists - are specialists in the use of radiation as a diagnostic tool. If the physician(s) who is ordering these procedure cannot answer these questions for you, then you have the right to ask the specialist who is responsible for the administration of the procedure.

If your procedures are being performed in a hospital setting, those facilities have medical or health physicists on staff whose specialty is the evaluation of radiation dose.

The radiographers (technologists) who frequent this forum are not specialists in radiation physics. It would be unethical to pat you on the back and say, "sure, no problem. Just do what they tell you" ... just as it would be foolish of me to throw a lot of numbers at you to try to explain how much radiation these procedures involve.

The dose you've received is based on many variables. The type of equipment used, the settings used during the procedure, the specifics of how your procedure(s) was performed.... all of these things (and others) affect how much radiation different parts of your body has received.

If I were you and I was concerned about radiation dose, I would contact the health physicist at the facility performing my procedure and ask those questions. Their area of expertise is precisely what you're looking for.

Good luck

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