Medical radiation exposure has been a recent, and frequent, topic in the lay press. While certain imaging modalities such as ultrasound and MRI do not expose patients to ionizing radiation, others, such as CT, plain film radiographs, and fluoroscopy, do. All of these studies have revolutionized the way we practice medicine and have saved countless lives. Nevertheless, too much medical radiation may possibly lead to the development of malignancy 15–20 years in the future. Unfortunately, a lifetime dose threshold establishing a definite link is not yet known. Nobody knows exactly how many x-rays or CT scans a patient can have before he or she is at increased risk. Therefore, it is incumbent on the radiologic community to ensure that the patient’s lifetime exposure to medical radiation is kept as low as reasonably possible while still detecting disease as early as possible.
We want to assure the medical community that VIVA has always strived to provide the highest-quality images while keeping patient radiation exposure as low as possible. Patient safety, both short and long-term, has always been our priority.
Here are some of the precautions we take to ensure radiation safety for patients:
Fluoroscopy is an operator-dependent modality, and all of our radiologists are cognizant of the amount of fluoroscopy time used during each study. The fluoroscopy times are also recorded for retrospective analysis. We use “screen save” technology, which stores the last image saved on the overhead monitor directly onto the PACs system. This negates the need for a second spot image, thus reducing the radiation dose. Pulse fluoroscopy delivers an intermittent beam rather than a continuous beam to help decrease radiation delivered to the patient, a measure that again is especially useful in pediatric fluoroscopy.
We enjoy working with our referring clinicians to choose the correct imaging modality for their patients. If there is another study that does not use ionizing radiation while providing equal or better diagnostic information, we actively encourage the alternative exam. All of our radiologists are happy to talk with our referring clinicians about what would be the best test for their patients. We are available 24 hours a day to review or discuss cases, so please feel free to contact us at anytime.
In the end, we are all responsible for the amount of medical radiation our patients receive. VIVA will continue to use the newest technology and imaging techniques to ensure that the patients in our community are imaged as safely as possible.