The Radiology Department uses x-rays everyday to identify the presence and/or severity of injuries to the children we treat. Some articles claim that the small radiation doses from x-ray technology are harmful. So are medical x-ray exams safe for your child?
The simple answer: Yes.
While much larger radiation doses may be harmful to patients, x-ray technology (including CT and fluoroscopy) uses much smaller radiation doses. Radiology staff members are trained to limit your child’s radiation dose. In addition, since MRI and ultrasound studies do not use x-ray technology, that small risk is not present in those particular studies.
You can also think of it this way: Each person is exposed to background radiation every day of his or her life. This radiation comes from the sun, soil, food we eat, and building materials in our homes. A comparison of the radiation dose from background radiation over a period of time and the radiation dose from medical x-rays help put the extremely small risks of x-rays into perspective. The risk of the radiation dose from the x-ray examinations in the table below for an eight-year-old patient is believed to be equivalent to the total background radiation received over the time listed in the second column.
Written by Keith J. Strauss, MSc, FAAPM, FACR and edited by Wendy Bankes.