Stories about: Michael Callahan

How Boston Children’s keeps radiation exposure as low as possible

Computed tomography (CT) scans may place children at an increased risk of cancer, according to two recently released studies published in Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) and the British Medical Journal (BMJ).  

Despite the highly publicized radiation risks associated with high-dose CT scans, Boston Children’s Hospital has been at the forefront of a movement to reduce the levels of radiation exposure to young patients for years.

CT scans produce high-quality images of inside patient’s bodies and are especially helpful in diagnosing certain illness or injury, like severe brain trauma, appendicitis or problems inside a person’s lungs. To produce their images, CT scanners use highly focused, x-ray beams. When child-sized doses are used, the patient’s level of exposure to radiation is relatively low. Although the risks from low levels of ionizing radiation are not well understood, we assume that even a small exposure to ionizing radiation could potentially lead to an increased risk of cancer and do everything we can to use the minimum amount of radiation necessary to obtain appropriate medical images.

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