Radiation risks in perspective.
As a patient, you may have concerns about the imaging procedures prescribed for you. The medical experts at ARA take the use of radiation very seriously. We strongly believe that when we do an exam that uses radiation, the benefits must far outweigh the risk. We are dedicated to our branch of medicine – imaging that allows us to see inside the body in ways that avoid harm to the patient, such as exploratory surgery and other damaging procedures that imaging makes unnecessary.
ARA wants you to be informed about the steps our practice takes to ensure these risks are limited, the many types of imaging that do/do not not use radiation, the risks of exposure, what you can do to help, and where you can go for further information.
According to the American College of Radiology, the total dose for a typical mammogram with 2 views of each breast is 0.4 millisieverts (mSv), and the total dose for a bone densitometry is 0.001 mSv. To help put those numbers into perspective, people are exposed to about 2 mSv of radiation each year from our natural surroundings. This would mean that getting a mammogram is the equivalent of only 7 weeks in our normal, everyday life.
Bone densitometry exam radiation dose in mSv
Mammography exam radiation dose in mSv
Maximum annual limit of radiation dose in mSv for healthcare workers
Listed below are some common types of imaging, the radiation risk associated with each, and an example of comparable risk. Each exam within a modality will vary in its radiation dose based on the body area examined, such as chest, abdomen, or extremity.
Each of us is exposed to radiation every day of our lives. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the average person in the United States receives a dose of about 360 millirem (used to measure radiation) per year. 80% of that comes from natural sources such as radon gas, outer space (cosmic radiation), soil, and rocks. The remaining 20% comes from man-made radiation sources, primarily medical imaging. As an example, the typical chest X-ray is equivalent to the amount of radiation one experiences from our natural surroundings in approximately 10 days.
It’s important to remember that negative effects from radiation are extremely rare. Only a small percentage of people who are heavily exposed to radiation develop radiation-induced cancer later in life. This includes people who are exposed to radiation from nuclear weapons, involved in radiation accidents, receive high dose radiation therapy for cancer.
radiologyinfo.org Click on the safety link. Presented by the American College of Radiology (ACR) and the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA).
radiationanswers.org Presented by the Health Physics Society.
imagegently.org Image Gently – see parent section for pediatric imaging and what you can do.
imagewisely.org Presented by the American College of Radiology (ACR), the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA), the American Association of Physicists in Medicine (AAPM), and the American Society of Radiologic Technologists (ASRT).
epa.gov/radiation Environmental Protection Agency.
ARA continues to follow CDC guidelines in requiring employees and patients to wear masks at our imaging centers for the safety of all.