Medical imaging is a way to take images inside the body. It is essential to the diagnosis and treatment of various health concerns. Here are a few radiology misconceptions about the use of radiation in medicine:
All radiation is bad
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) defines radiation as energy that comes from a source and travels through space at the speed of light. A few examples include sunlight, microwave ovens, lamps, and other electronic devices such as televisions and phones. We are exposed to small amounts of radiation every day. When exposed to large amounts of radiation there can be adverse effects including nausea, vomiting, skin burns, and could result in long-term health problems. X-Rays, CT scans, and other forms of medical radiology are considered small amounts of radiation exposure and therefore very safe.
X-rays are old-school and outdated
X-rays are considered valuable diagnostic tools in the medical community. They are a fast, non-invasive, and painless way to see bone fractures, pneumonia, possible tumors, or foreign objects in the body. The development of technology and computers has evolved the use of X-rays. There is also ongoing research to try and decrease the amount of radiation from X-rays.
X-rays are harmful to pregnant women:
X-rays emit a low amount of radiation but if it can be avoided during pregnancy, that is ideal. It is important to let your healthcare provider and radiologist know if you are pregnant. They can help you decide if you are able to postpone until after delivery, if the medical concern is more urgent, or if any adjustments can be made to the procedure to accommodate.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, (May 17, 2022) What is Radiation? Retrieved October 30, 2023, from https://www.cdc.gov/nceh/radiation/what_is.html
- United States Environmental Protection Agency, (February 15, 2023) Radiation Health Effects. Retrieved October 30, 2023, from https://www.epa.gov/radiation/radiation-health-effects
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, (November 7, 2022) Radiation in Healthcare: Imagine Procedures. Retrieved October 30, 2023, from https://www.cdc.gov/nceh/features/medical-imaging-procedures/index.html
- U.S. Food and Drug Administration, (February 21, 2023) Medical X-ray Imaging. Retrieved October 30, 2023, from https://www.fda.gov/radiation-emitting-products/medical-imaging/medical-x-ray-imaging#benefits