Jump to content

Risk of medical x-rays


Alfred001
 Share

Recommended Posts

You'll often find charts like this that express the risk of various medical x-rays by relating it to levels of radiation from other sources.

radiation-amounts.jpg

I'm wondering, is this a valid way of thinking about the risk? Because it makes a chest x-ray seem pretty trivial - exposes you to no more radiation than just 5 days of normal living (natural background radiation). Is it really valid to think of risks of chest x-rays in that way or are there additional factors here that would change the equation?

Does the fact that a chest x-ray is 50 msc in one instant make it different and more dangerous than the 50 msc you are exposed to over five days of normal living from background radiation?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The time is a factor; there’s a difference between a chronic and an acute dose. When the exposure is spread out, the body has a chance to heal; this is generally more important for higher doses than what you get in an x-ray. 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yes, a slow rate of ionization means a double stranded break in DNA (the main cause of problems) can be repaired because the sister chromatid will likely have the homologous sequence intact and can be used as a repair template.  And there are other evolved repair methods, too.   If a large dose happens in a quick burst however, there is a much greater chance that flood of photons will leave no homologous sequence intact and then there is likely a serious genomic breakdown leading to tumors or cell death.  

Link to comment
Share on other sites

4 hours ago, Alfred001 said:

Is it really valid to think of risks of chest x-rays in that way or are there additional factors here that would change the equation?

It's a risk/benefit calculation. A chest x-ray for a cough, say, is quite different to one for a penetrating chest injury.

It's not uncommon to see push back against a doctor referring a patient for a CT scan if the radiologist (sometimes after being flagged by the radiographer) feels the risk may be too great - particularly for young people and abdominal scans. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.