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tracy
12-04-2012, 11:57 PM
Hi Dr S,

I would like to know the information on exposure to x-rays? At count, I think were up to around 20? What impact would that have on our daughter long-term? Im not sure how many were done while in I.C.U as the machine was over bed-type? To check re-inflation of lung. Also what effect from M.R.I.S as weve had 2, one for spine, one for brain? These are questions that wont be on our surgeons list, as we have too many others. But, they are becoming increasingly important questions, with the frequency of our visits. Hope you can help.

Tracy

Dr Scoliosis
23-04-2012, 02:32 PM
Having an x-ray does mean that an individual is exposed to some ionising (x-ray) radiation.

We are exposed to ionising radiation every day, from cosmic rays from the sun and from things we eat or drink or breathe in that have small amounts of radioactivity.

Radiation exposure is measured in millisieverts (mSv). In Australia, on average, we are exposed to 2.1mSv per year from the environment. One-third comes from cosmic rays, two-thirds from what we eat, drink or breathe in. In other parts of the world, the environmental exposure can be up to four times higher. These places have no higher risk of radiation-induced cancers.

Medical radiation, including x-rays can be a significant source of additional radiation. However, most routine x-rays use very low doses of ionising radiation. For example, a chest x-ray of the type your daughter has had has a typical dose of 0.03 mSv. Compared to our yearly exposure of 2.1mSv, it is not significant. Having 20 chest x rays is the same as about 3 months "background" radiation. Other tests, such as a CT scan, have higher radiation doses. Recent advances in medical imaging have led to a significant decrease in the radiation doses needed to get a good x-ray.

Radiation exposure is cumulative. Over time, repeated exposure to many x-rays is linked to a higher risk of some cancers. Therefore, in medicine generally, doctors try and limit the number and type of x-rays done. X-rays are essential in the monitoring of scoliosis and in the planning of surgical treatment. There is no better way to visualise the skeleton. So, we need to use them but only when necessary. In older children with scoliosis, the specialist might see them three times a year for clinical review, but an x-ray only once a year may be all that is needed to monitor the curve. X-rays are needed more frequently if the curve appears to be changing quickly or treatment is being planned.

An MRI (magnetic resonance image) scan uses a magnetic field rather than ionising radiation to create a picture of part of the body. There is no known risk of damage to human health from this type of scan. However, those with metal implants, pacemakers and the like may not be able to have MRI scans without some precautions.

It is quite reasonable to ask your treating doctor about the need for a particular test.

I hope this has been of some help.

Dr Scoliosis

tracy
25-04-2012, 10:49 PM
Dr Scoliosis,

Thankyou for these answers, in simple to understand terms. This puts my mind at ease, and I wont worry so much, for next x-rays, once again, thankyou for your time.

Tracy