Radiological exams: risks and needs
Posted on: 2022-07-06
Radiological exams still raise doubts about their safety, especially when they involve children. The radiation emitted is not very clear to those who are not from the area and, often, essential tests are discarded due to lack of information.
To help understand medical imaging radiation, most discussions compare exposure to the natural background radiation that we are exposed to daily, to small amounts as part of our natural environment. That helps to understand that our body is already used to receiving a certain dose daily and exams don’t pass much of this amount.
When the patient is subjected to very high doses, the procedure has the potential to cause temporary skin burns – however, that is rare. The most common concern is the increased chances of cancer when screening is routine – there is no conclusive evidence, but population studies have shown an increase in the disease after large amounts of radiation.
If you need to have an imaging test that uses radiation and you’re not sure whether to do it, there are three questions that can help:
1) Is it medically necessary? If so, the benefit will outweigh any risk;
2) Can previous exams replace this new order? Show your doctor your most recent imaging tests. Thus, he will be able to assess whether repetition is necessary or not;
3) Are there alternative imaging tests that do not use radiation? Ask your doctor if ultrasound or MRI can replace the radiological exam.
If the exam is performed on a child, it is important to know that the institution is familiar with it, as adjustments to weight and size must be made. Check out RadiologyInfo.org for more information.