All posts in Radiology

Maintaining Healthy Bones

Maintaining Healthy Bones
Comments Off on Maintaining Healthy Bones

If there’s one thing radiologists see a lot of, it’s broken bones. With 206 of them, bones play a vital role within the human body. Bones primarily support body structure, allowing us to stand tall and execute a range of movement. Bones protect our more vulnerable internal organs, store important minerals such as calcium, and also contain marrow which allows for blood cell production. Bones are extremely important, and help us remain active all through our lifetime. A broken bone is never fun, and while you may not be able to prevent accidents from occurring (though you can certainly minimise this risk), you can take steps today to make your bones as healthy and strong as possible.

Boost Your Bone Health

According to Healthy Bones Australia, there are 3 essential elements involved in maintaining healthy bones: exercise, calcium, and sunshine. Each factor plays an important role in strengthening your bones. With bone health knowledge under your belt, it is surprisingly easy to boost your bone health in your everyday lifestyle.

Get That Calcium

Calcium deposits are what build our bones and keep them healthy. Some calcium is needed throughout your life to keep your bones at their strongest. Older children and adolescents require the most calcium intake in their daily diet, as their bones are growing rapidly at this stage. As we age, we also need to keep tabs on our intake, as bone calcium levels begin to decrease, especially for women. After the age of 50, women may need to include more calcium in their diet, or even take a supplement. Maintaining proper levels of calcium helps to prevent osteoporosis and keeps our bones from becoming brittle and more susceptible to breakage.

What foods provide calcium?

You can easily consume your daily recommended calcium amount by eating calcium-rich foods. When most people think of calcium, they think of milk. While milk has the highest calcium content, you can get it from a wide variety of sources, including soy milk, natural yogurts, cheeses such as cheddar, mozzarella, and edam, sardines, mussels, salmon, tahini, and even many vegetables, such as bok choy, chickpeas, and watercress.

Move Your Body

Exercise is a large part of maintaining healthy bones. Exercise has an endless number of important benefits for your body, but for bones, exercise provides work for your muscles, which, in turn, aids in improving bone density. Physical exercise should be undertaken at least 4 times per week to get the maximum results. Cardiovascular activity is great for bones, but only if it is weight-bearing such as basketball or running. Resistance training, balance-focused workouts like yoga, and traditional weight lifting are also excellent sources of bone-boosting exercise. You should participate in a variety of activities and aim to do high-impact exercise frequently.

Enjoy the Sunshine

When your skin is exposed to rays of the sun, vitamin D is produced within your body, another vital element for healthy bone maintenance. Vitamin D helps your body better absorb calcium, which assists in the strengthening of your bones. It’s easy to get your recommended Vitamin D from the pleasant Australian sunshine (only about 10 minutes are required on summer days) but it’s important to limit your sun exposure to prevent sunburn and increased risk of skin cancer.

We Love Healthy Bones

With a focus on the three elements of sunshine, exercise, and calcium, you will be on track for strong and durable bone health. If you have further questions or are concerned about your bone health, you should talk with your physician. Vision XRAY offers painless Bone Density testing (DEXA) with referral from your physician. AT Vision XRAY we’d be happy to help you discover ways to boost or examine your bone health. At Vision XRAY, in addition to providing our bone densitometry, we’re happy to help you discover ways to boost or examine your bone health.

More

Diagnosing Headaches Through Radiology

Diagnosing Headaches Through Radiology
Comments Off on Diagnosing Headaches Through Radiology

Radiology is perhaps most closely aligned with the general x-ray and when many people think of radiological services they probably think of broken bones. But radiology is about much more than bones, helping to diagnose a variety of much deeper health issues. The need for an x-ray is clear when it comes to a possible sprain or fracture, but the need may not be as apparent when it comes to other concerns. One of these such concerns may be headaches. Radiological scans can be an excellent and effective tool when it comes to finding out the underlying cause of severe or ongoing headaches.

First Things First

If you’ve been experiencing a headache, you’ll first head to your primary physician. Your doctor will examine you and ask you a number of questions to determine the cause of your headache, the associated symptoms, and any other influencing factors. Most headaches can be diagnosed right there in the doctor’s office. Common diagnoses include tension, migraines, or cluster headaches. Most headaches do not require any further testing, and are not a significant health concern. The doctor will ask you when your headaches began and how frequently they occur. He or she will also ask you about your level of pain. Lastly, the doctor may inquire about your lifestyle habits and any recent changes to those habits. With an analysis of your symptoms alongside your medical history, most headaches can be diagnosed easily and treatment suggestions offered directly by your physician.

Using Radiology for Headaches

Sometimes symptoms go beyond the typical patterns however, and testing is needed to determine the cause of your headaches. At Vision XRAY, we use MRI and CT scan as tools in these diagnoses, both capable of generating detailed images of the head.

The CT (computerised tomography) scan uses x-ray technology to create cross-section images of the body’s interior. A CT can show high-quality scans and is often used to check for any bleeding in the brain. This option might be chosen if a physician suspects a serious problem such as a brain tumor, aneurysm, or stroke. MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) creates images through magnetised radio waves. The MRI can often provide a greater detail to images, making it an optimal tool for detecting certain conditions. It also is able to show certain regions of the brain more closely such as the space near the spinal column. Brain MRI may be selected to assess developmental abnormalities, blood vessel issues, eye and inner ear conditions, and chronic nervous system disorders such as multiple sclerosis. Both scans are effective and produce superb imagery, making them incredibly useful in the process of diagnosis.
It is important to remember that a brain scan such as an MRI or CT scan is not necessarily an indicator of a serious problem, but a precaution taken to ensure your health.

If you are concerned about your headaches, we recommend making an appointment with your primary care physician. We at Vision XRAY are also happy to speak with you at any time regarding our services.

More

Is MRI Safe During Pregnancy?

Is MRI Safe During Pregnancy?
Comments Off on Is MRI Safe During Pregnancy?

During pregnancy, nothing is more important to a mother than the health of her baby. A healthy pregnancy also depends on a healthy mother. If there is a concern about your own health or that of your unborn child, there may be a need for radiological scans to help in diagnosis and treatment.

As you might know, although radiological scanning procedures are generally considered safe, scans that utilise x-ray technology do pose a slight risk, as these expose you to small amounts of radiation. At Vision XRAY, we adhere intensely to a stringent set of safety standards, minimising radiation dosage for our patients as much as possible. In the case of pregnancy, it is advised to avoid all scans that utilise radiation. A woman who is with child should therefore not undergo any x-ray or CT scans. But what if scans are needed?

Scans for Pregnancy

When assessing the health of a foetus, we use ultrasound technology, a completely safe, non-invasive method which provides detailed images of your baby. The pregnancy ultrasound is an excellent tool for checking on the baby’s health. Ultrasound can also be of benefit in scanning other areas of a patient’s body, if needed.

Occasionally, something is noticed on an ultrasound that may require a closer look at the foetus. Or perhaps the pregnant mother is experiencing a problem and an internal scan is needed. In such a case, the radiological tool of choice is the MRI.

MRI stands for magnetic resonance imaging, a scan which utilises radio waves and a magnet to generate remarkably intricate images of a patient’s body. The MRI machinery uses wire coils to transmit radio waves and their resulting signals build a series of cross-section images, creating a multi-dimensional understanding of the bodily tissues. Because of the excellent images MRI produces, it is an extremely useful tool in diagnosis and treatment, both for problems in a pregnant mother or health concerns within the foetus. An MRI lasts a bit longer than a CT scan or x-ray, and may require the use of an orally-ingested contrast dye to assist with imaging.

Is MRI Safe for Pregnant Mothers?

Unlike x-rays or a CT scan, MRI does not use ionising radiation. This makes it an ultimately safer scan as it does not have the same inherent exposure risks. Numerous research studies have been done to assess the possible risks of MRI on pregnant women and their babies. No adverse side effects have conclusively shown to result from MRIs performed during pregnancy. MRI is considered to be a safe test for pregnant women. However, to reduce any possible risks, an MRI is typically not performed until after the first trimester of pregnancy.

The health and safety of our patients is our number one priority at Vision XRAY. We always try to reduce the number of tests and scans required on a pregnant mother whenever possible, administering MRI only when health concerns indicate that it is medically necessary or prudent to do so. If you have further questions or concerns regarding MRI or scans during pregnancy, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We will be happy to speak with you and provide more information on our services here at Vision XRAY.

More

Radiology 101: Basics of Different Technology

Radiology 101: Basics of Different Technology
Comments Off on Radiology 101: Basics of Different Technology

X-ray. CT scan. Ultrasound. MRI. To a patient, sometimes these terms can sound overwhelming and meaningless. At Vision XRAY, we strive to ensure all patients have a better understanding of the various procedures and treatments we offer at our practices. The equipment and scanning options we use make up the radiologist’s toolbox; each is a valuable resource, useful and effective for various conditions, injuries, and circumstances. Today, we present to you “Radiology 101”, a basic guide to our most common procedures.

XRAY

The x-ray is a frequently used procedure in our offices. The x-ray is painless and fast, and produces images of internal structures inside your body. X-rays use ionising radiation, which pass through your body to create the images. Structures inside your body absorb the rays differently, and show up as gradients of black and white in the image. Bones appear white because the calcium inside them is highly absorbent to the waves. At Vision XRAY, this type of test is commonly used to observe broken bones, to examine the lungs, to imagine the teeth, or in mammogram, a specialised x-ray which images the breast tissue for abnormalities.

CT

The computerised tomography scan, or CT, is a type of x-ray which rotates around the patient’s body to build cross-section, 3D images of that area. Also a pain free procedure, the CT is fairly quick and may involve the ingestion of a liquid or an injection of a contrast dye, to help produce better images. The CT is an excellent tool for examining internal injuries or scanning for abnormalities. Because the CT generates an image of finer detail, it is often preferred over the basic x-ray. It is also able to be localised onto a specific area, to better focus the scan and to minimise radiation exposure.

MRI

MRI stands for magnetic resonance imaging, a scan which utilises radio waves and a magnet to generate remarkably intricate images of a patient’s body. The MRI machinery uses wire coils to transmit radio waves and the resulting signals receive build a series of cross-section images, creating a multi-dimensional understanding of the bodily tissues. MRI’s are often selected to scan tissues or areas in greater detail, such as ligaments, tendons, or the spinal cord.
An MRI lasts a bit longer than a CT scan or x-ray, can be quite noisy and may require the use of an orally-ingested or IV contrast dye to assist with imaging.

ULTRASOUND

Ultrasound is a safe type of scan which utilises penetrating sound waves to present images of the body. Women who have had babies will know the ultrasound as a common tool seen over the course of pregnancy. Ultrasound technology allows the radiologist and physician to monitor and observe the health of the growing foetus and provides excellent detail. Ultrasound is also used for other purposes and with other areas of the body, including breast ultrasound, pelvic ultrasound, vascular ultrasound and musculoskeletal ultrasound. Effective in determining the mass and type of abnormalities within the body, ultrasound is a useful part of diagnosis, often as a supplementary tool alongside other imaging tests.

Further Questions?

The four scanning procedures outlined above are the most common procedures we work with in our Vision XRAY practices. We hope this brief overview has provided you with a basis of information, to help you have a greater understanding of the work we do here and the ways in which we assist our patients in diagnosis and treatment. Concerns or questions? Please do not hesitate to contact our team, and we will be happy to discuss our services with you further.

More

Tips for Choosing a Great Radiologist

Tips for Choosing a Great Radiologist
Comments Off on Tips for Choosing a Great Radiologist

Selecting a medical professional can often be a challenge, and a process that can feel overwhelming. There’s a great deal of information out there, and a seemingly greater number of providers. While you put care into selecting a primary physician, it’s important to choose the right medical professionals in other areas. Radiology is no exception. But how do you find the right radiologist for you? How do you ensure you select a great radiologist?

Great Reputation

Perhaps the most important indicator of quality in the medical field comes from word-of-mouth recommendations. When individuals find an outstanding professional, they often want to share this news with others. You should look for a radiology practice that has a top reputation and is known for their consistent excellence in care and service. Find out what groups and centres are most celebrated in your area.

Training & Technology

Radiology is a specialised and highly-technical field. When seeking the right radiologist, you want a team that has extensive experience and training. Ideally, a centre should have a number of radiologists with superior credentials and who focus on a range of specialties. This lets you know you’re in capable hands and are working with a team who has experience in all aspects of the field.

It’s also wise to pick a radiology practice which uses only the highest quality of equipment and state-of-the-art technology. Teams that keep on top of the latest technological advances and emphasise low-dose radiology machinery also earn points in this category.

Communication & Collaboration

A radiologist may be top in their field, but this accomplishment is diminished if he or she lacks exceptional communication skills. It is imperative that your radiologist is equipped and ready to work closely with your primary or referring physician, when necessary. This level of collaboration ensures you receive the best possible medical care.

At Vision XRAY, we are in constant communication with physicians and other healthcare providers, and we utilise teleradiology technology for ease and swiftness of sharing medical records and increasing communication and cooperation.

Logistics

While such factors may not be as important as quality of care, you should consider logistics when selecting a radiologist, such as convenience of the practice location. You will likely wish to work with a radiology centre that is in your area, particularly if you anticipate frequent visits. A radiology practice with several locations may be ideally suited to your needs.

Commitment to Patient Care

Above all, you owe it to yourself to choose a radiologist who demonstrates a sincere commitment to patient care. You want to be in the best hands when it comes to your health and safety.

At Vision XRAY, we believe we embody all of the above criteria, but most of all, we strive to emphasise our dedication to offering the utmost level of care for each and every patient. In everything we do, we aim to promote our core values of compassion, justice, human dignity, excellence, and unity. If you’re seeking a great radiologist, please consider Vision XRAY, and find out why we are the radiology group against which all others are measured.

More

Safety Standards at Vision XRAY

Safety Standards at Vision XRAY
Comments Off on Safety Standards at Vision XRAY

At Vision XRAY Group, the safety and care of our patients is at the core of everything we do. Our organisation has been around since 2002, when we began providing radiological services to Australians in Sydney and regionally at our additional locations. Vision XRAY was built on the values of compassion, justice, excellence, unity, and human dignity. Our practice is focused on implementing these values in our every action. By starting with these vital values, we are able to ensure our safety standards are continually met and expanded. How do we give patients our best? Here are a few of the areas we emphasise:

Patients are the Priority

We offer a wide range of services at Vision XRAY. This provides a variety of options when it comes to the scans and procedures we can provide to our patients. Our radiologists know that each patient is unique and thus, their needs and care will vary greatly. We work closely with each individual patient, ensuring our care plan is consistent with providing the best, tailored for that patient’s specific requirements. What this means is that we select (alongside the patient’s physician) the most appropriate scans and procedures which will be most effective for diagnosis and treatment. We also choose the scans which will be best for image clarity and accuracy. As we make these selections, we work to expose the patient to the minimum possible amount of ionising radiation.

A Focus on Radiation Levels

At Vision XRAY, we are highly focused on controlling radiation exposure, protecting our patients and maximising your safety and care. For xray and CT scans, which use ionising radiation to produce images, we emphasise minimising radiation dosage, honing in on the specific region of the body under observation to use the lowest possible dose. We also have invested in top of the line specialty CT and xray equipment, which can allow for “ultra low dose” scanning and can deliver excellent imaging results using smaller radiation amounts. With certain circumstances, we take extra precautions to minimise radiation exposure, such as when scanning a pregnant patient or a child, and in these cases, we will elect for alternate scanning options when possible.

The Best Equipment, Staff, & Systems

Vision XRAY is entirely radiologist owned and operated. We are a team made up of accredited, talented radiologists with extensive experience in our field. We have set a precedent for accepting only the highest standards and our practices strive to continually meet and exceed these levels.

Our top trained radiologists are experts at what they do and each are committed first and foremost to patient comfort and care. Each member of our team embodies our organisation values in everything he or she does. You can feel confident in Vision XRAY as we meet the Diagnostic Imaging Accreditation Scheme standards put forward by Australia’s Department of Health and Ageing.

In addition to employing outstanding radiologists and staff, Vision XRAY uses state of the art equipment which is meticulously serviced and maintained. In keeping with our strict standards, we are always continually evaluating our systems and procedures and promote continuous learning amongst our team. We hope to remain at the forefront of technological advancements and systems development, as we tirelessly work to provide more efficient and effective procedures and overall better patient care.

More

Dental Imaging and Cone Beam CT: A Closer Look

Dental Imaging and Cone Beam CT: A Closer Look
Comments Off on Dental Imaging and Cone Beam CT: A Closer Look

One of the greatest results of the countless advancements in radiological technology is the growth in dental imaging. At Vision XRAY we offer a variety of options in dental imaging, assisting dental practitioners in their work and effective treatment of patients. With our range of equipment, we can produce specialised, high quality images for use by dental and medical providers, examining not only the teeth and jaw, but also imaging facial bones, dental nerves, and more.

Digital Radiography

For more simple images of the mouth and teeth, we utilise first class 2-D digital radiography. These low dose machines produce excellent images for use by your dental provider. We perform lateral cephalometry, OPG, TMJ, and facial bone imaging using this technology.

OPG (orthopantomogram) provides a panoramic x-ray of the patient’s lower face, imaging the teeth of both the upper and lower jaw. This scan can be used to display the position and growth of all teeth, including those that are still to surface, and may also be used to examine the structure of the jawbone and the temporomandibular joint (TMJ). OPG’s are frequently used when checking for the presence of wisdom teeth in a patient.

Lateral cephalometry is an x-ray which produces a side view of the face, showing bone and facial structure. Such a scan is useful for orthodontists in developing their treatment plans and tracking progress. Both lat ceph and OPG are quick, painless procedures performed in-house at Vision XRAY’s many locations.

Cone BEAM CT

Our cone beam CT (computerised tomography) is an ultra low dose dental CT scan. This procedure uses advanced technology to produce 3-D images of the craniofacial region. An cone shaped x-ray beam is moved around the head of the patient to generate clear images of dental structures, nerves, soft tissues, and bone. Because these images are more detailed, cone beam CT can assist in more specific and specialised treatment and diagnosis.

Cone beam CT may be helpful for orthodontic treatment as well as surgical planning for issues such as teeth impaction. TMJ disorder diagnosis can also be assisted through this technology, and issues with the jaw, sinuses, and nasal cavity can also be evaluated. When patients are experiencing pain in the craniofacial region, the cone beam CT can be instrumental in aiding radiologists to determine the source of the problem. One of the most significant uses for cone beam CT is its role in planning tooth implantation. Cone beam CT shows the height and width of bone available for implantation as well as bone quality. This assists in the planning the procedure as well as determining whether or not the procedure can be safely performed.

Alongside your physician, orthodontist, dentist, or other specialist, our team at Vision XRAY will select the appropriate scanning technologies that best meet your needs, with a constant focus on your health and well-being. Our radiologists would be happy to answer any questions or address any concerns you have regarding dental imaging or cone beam CT. Please do not hesitate to contact us to discuss your needs.

More

How Far We’ve Come: A Brief History of Radiology

How Far We’ve Come: A Brief History of Radiology
Comments Off on How Far We’ve Come: A Brief History of Radiology

Every day, advances in radiology show just how far science and technology have brought us. Within the medical field, progress in radiology has always been at the forefront, and it continues its amazing growth today. While we typically focus on present-day radiological technologies, it is fascinating to peer into the past and see just how far we’ve come. Join us as we explore a brief history of a modern marvel: radiology.

The Beginnings

In 1895, Wilhelm Conrad Rontgen discovered the X-ray. Rontgen was experimenting with the flow of an electric current in a glass tube (cathode-ray tube) when he noticed that a nearby piece of barium platinocyanide emitted light during his experiment. He proposed that when the cathode rays (electrons) encountered the wall inside the tube a type of radiation formed which moved across the room and caused the illumination. He called this X-radiation, or Rontgen radiation, and found that the radiation worked transparently with materials such as paper and aluminum. Rontgen is responsible for taking the very first X-ray photographs, producing images of metal objects as well as scanning the bones in his wife’s hand.

Developments

The X-ray apparatus the Rontgen created was widely available, so many scientists and physicians were able to work with and study the technology. In the 1910’s, many physicians purchased their own x-ray machines. As time went on, radiology transformed into a specialist profession, separate from a physician.

The earliest x-ray images were made onto glass photographic plates, but in 1918 film was introduced by George Eastman. This allowed for more efficient (and likely less costly) x-ray photographs. Study of radiology continued throughout the 20th century, and by 1920, the Society of Radiographers was formed.

Advances in the technology helped improve the speed and efficacy of X-rays, and their use was broadened. In the 1940’s and 50’s, more safety regulations and precautions were understood and put in place. X-rays became increasingly useful in treatment and diagnosis, and could assist with more serious issues.

The 1950’s and 60’s saw the development and spread of ultrasound technology. With continued growth, radiology was suddenly booming, and there was a shortage of radiologists in the late 1960’s and early 70’s. Scanning procedures such as computed tomography (CT) and mammography and were becoming increasingly common. During this period, radiological societies pushed for more standardisation of radiological training and education, to ensure professionals were always qualified and expertly trained. and for higher Fearing that the shortage would lead to “diploma mills” that churned out

CT scanning was developed in the early 70’s by Englishman Godfrey Hounsfield and the first CT scan performed in 1972; he won the Nobel Prize for his work. MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) was also under exploration, and the first image of a human was completed in 1977 in Scotland. Work was progressing on magnetic resonance imaging in the 1970s and the first human image was obtained in Aberdeen in 1977. Finally, radiology offered a myriad of options for patients, leading to more accurate diagnosis and better treatment.

Leading Up to Today

The 1970’s and 80’s saw an important growth in technology: the computer. These achievements were revolutionary, as computerised x-rays could provide dramatically better imagery and information. Beyond the common x-ray modern radiology works with others sources of energy: ultrasound waves, isotopes, and an an electromagnetic field, (MRI). Computerisation works tremendously alongside these technologies to improve processes. The 80’s and 90’s also gave birth to teleradiology, allowing radiologists, physicians, and health centres to communicate and share patient images easily and swiftly via computers, scanners, and other equipment, This has allowed for amazing collaboration between radiologists and physicians, and resulted in overall better patient care.

—-

It’s clear that radiology has come a long way from an unexpected 1895 discovery, and it is likely that it will only continue to advance in the future. At Vision XRAY, we are always looking ahead and excited about new technology. You can be sure we’ll remain at the forefront, seeking out new and useful developments which will aid us in providing the absolute best care to our patients.

More

What is Teleradiology?

What is Teleradiology?
Comments Off on What is Teleradiology?

You may have heard that Vision XRAY offers teleradiology services within our practice. Yet you may be left wondering: just what is teleradiology? Teleradiology is the sharing of radiological medical images such as x-rays, MRIs and CT scans via electronic technology. The purpose of this system is to allow patient information to be available remotely. This helps to achieve greater accuracy, efficiency, and speed when it comes to patient diagnosis and treatment. The ability to share imaging easily and quickly allows patients and radiologists access to other radiologists as well as specialists. It also facilitates simple communication between physician and radiologist. Working with our healthcare partners, we enable rapid image sharing with community medical centres, hospitals, and private health centres.

Teleradiology at Vision XRAY

At Vision XRAY we use the RRRA (Remote Radiology Reporting Australia) system of teleradiology. RRRA was the first teleradiology practice in Australia, founded in 2001 and expanding ever since. We have 8 certified teleradiologists at Vision, and they prepare and handle imagery from MRI, CT scans, ultrasound, cone beam CT, dental x-ray, and chiropractic x-ray, among others. In most cases, images are transmitted within a timeframe of 24 hours–faster during emergency or urgent circumstances.

Technologically speaking, the RRRA teleradiology system is very advanced. Information is shared via a secure PACS system using Wide Area Network (WAN) and broadband as well as wireless options. A VPN as well as other protective measures ensures security and confidentiality of transmitted data. The IT infrastructure is strong and expertly-managed; in the case of any outages or errors, the system is supported by multiple servers, data backups, and other fail-safe mechanisms to keep the program up and running. At Vision XRAY, our teleradiologists have dedicated workstations for sending and receiving imagery, equipped with state of the art technology.

Practical Applications and Benefits

Thirty or so years ago, technology necessitated that radiologists physically be present when their expertise was needed. Teleradiology has vastly altered the process for analysis and diagnostic of medical imaging; radiology remains at the forefront of ‘telemedicine’ or medical care provided remotely or across several locations. The use of teleradiology allows radiologists to communicate clearly and easily with hospitals, physicians, surgeons, and more. This has certainly changed radiology practices, allowing radiologists to work effectively in various locations and streamlining and improving the process for patients.

As a patient at Vision XRAY, we may use teleradiology as an effective tool in your diagnosis and treatment. Communication with doctors, hospitals, and radiologists is better facilitated through the use of this premier technology and you can feel confident that Vision XRAY is committed to continuing to use the best available technology and practices available.

More

Managing Radiation in Radiology: How Safe Is it?

Managing Radiation in Radiology: How Safe Is it?
Comments Off on Managing Radiation in Radiology: How Safe Is it?

In radiology, there are a variety of procedures which utilise ionising radiation technology to produce internal images. Scans such as computerised tomography (CT scan) and X-rays use this type of radiation, and therefore must be approached with a sense of prudence and care.

Although radiation does pose certain threats to those exposed, we can take steps to manage radiation exposure to patients. X-rays and CT scans are relatively safe procedures. Still, patients may be curious when faced with a radiological procedure: just how safe is it?

Managing Radiation Through Dose Control

While X-rays do contain potentially harmful radiation, physicians and technicians opt only to perform these procedures when the benefits far outweigh the risks. An x-ray will be performed only when necessary to aid in patient diagnosis or treatment. Undergoing an x-ray, you can also rest assured that the scan is performed by a highly trained and knowledgeable technician. Your technician will ensure that your x-ray utilises the lowest dose of radiation possible to achieve the desired result. An x-ray is a very quick instance of radiation exposure and generally involves very small amounts of radiation. An x-ray may expose you to tiny amounts of radiation, but should pose exceedingly little risk. According to the Environmental Health Directorate of the Department of Health, Western Australia, ‘the increased cancer risk from a single chest x-ray is about 1 in 400,000. In comparison, the lifetime incidence of cancer in the general population is about 1 in 4.’ Humans are constantly exposed to background radiation all around us, from natural radiation in the air, earth, and water. For many X-ray examinations, the radiation dose is no greater than the average dose a human would encounter from natural background radiation over a period of one year.

CT Scans – The Benefits Outweigh the Risks

A CT scan exposes a patient to a greater amount of radiation than does a traditional x-ray. However, it is important to reflect on the importance of the CT scan in treatment and diagnosis. As CT scans are not as common as an x-ray, they are only chosen when they are truly needed for a patient. A CT scan is a highly effective way to obtain a detailed image of the patient’s body. Utilising a CT scan may help determine the cause of a more serious illness, or catch a potential health concern for a patient. In a situation such as this, the CT scan provides more benefits than potential harm to the patient, and its use is recommended, if not absolutely necessary.

But let us still examine the risks.

Depending on the part of the body being examined, the CT scan can expose the patient to a large amount of radiation. A chest CT, for example, could be equivalent to undergoing approximately 100 chest X-rays. ‘While this sounds like a lot for one CT scan, it translates to a very small increased risk of developing cancer over your lifetime – about a 0.04 per cent increase in risk in fact, the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Radiologists estimates.’ We also use low dose technology for our CT scans and this can reduce radiation exposure to about one fifth the usual radiation dose. At Vision XRAY Group, we are extremely knowledgeable about all elements of radiology, including the inherent risks. We take steps to make sure each patient is exposed to the minimum amount of radiation, as your health and safety is our number one priority. We do not suggest unnecessary x-rays or CT scans, and, alongside your physician, only elect to administer these procedures when we feel the benefits far outweigh the potential risks.

As part of the radiologists investigation tools we also use tests that produce no harmful radiation including MRI and Ultrasound. Managing radiation exposure is very important to us at Vision XRAY. If you have questions or concerns about radiation, please do not hesitate to contact us. We would be happy to discuss any and all procedures with you.

More