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 believe strongly 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.
Patients sometimes ask if diagnostic imaging is safe. ARA Diagnostic Imaging wants you to be informed about the risks of exposure, the steps our practice takes to ensure these risks are limited, the many types of imaging that do not use radiation, what you can do to help, and where you can go for further information.
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.
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.
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.
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.
VACCINES: ARA does not have any publicly available vaccines—we are passing ours along to groups that are set up for public vaccination. We appreciate your understanding.
MASKS: ARA continues to require employees and patients to wear masks at our imaging centers for the safety of all.