We are all exposed to a small amount of natural radiation, called “background radiation,” every day of our lives – from sources such as the sun, rocks and soil. This small amount of radiation can be compared to X-ray tests. A chest X-ray (one view) emits a level of radiation comparable to being in the sun for one day. A CT scan of the abdomen or belly is a higher dosage of radiation and would compare to about 20 months of standing in the sun. Doctors get much more information from the CT scan than a regular X-ray. If your child’s medical problem requires a CT scan and will help your doctor solve your child’s problem, you should not hesitate to have the test done.
Radiology is a branch of science in which doctors use X-rays to see the inside of the human body in an effort to determine a patient’s medical problem. Many kinds of imaging tests are used by the Department of Radiology and Medical Imaging at Cincinnati Children’s. For example, tests such as ultrasound and MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) do not use medical radiation. However, these tests may not be able to answer the question your doctor has asked. In some cases, a test using radiation is the best option because it quickly provides doctors with a lot of information.
You can learn more about radiology tests and medical radiation by visiting Image Gently.
The Department of Radiology at Cincinnati Children’s has taken many steps to lower radiation and is proud to be a leader in radiation safety.