How much radiation exposure is there with standard imaging tests?

Studies have associated x-ray exposure with thyroid, breast, and lung cancer and leukaemia. We are exposed to a small amount of radiation all the time. Cosmic rays from the heavens, radioactive elements in the soil and air (radon), stone or brick from your house, for example. And you get even more if you fly in jets a lot. The average person receives about 3 mSv of background radiation per year.

 

But how much radiation exposure is there with standard imaging tests?

Test Dose
(mSv)
Years of
background
radiation / test
Chest x-ray 0.1 10 days
Pelvis x-ray 0.1 10 days
CT Head 2 8 months
CT Cervical spine 3 1 year
Plain C-Spine 0.2 3 weeks
CT Chest 7 2 years
CT Abdomen/pelvis 10 3 years
CT T&L spine 7 2 years
Plan T&L spine 3 1 year
Millimeter wave scanner (that hands in the air thing at the airport) 0.0001 15 minutes
Scatter from chest x-ray in trauma bay when standing one meter from patient 0.0002 45 minutes

 

Human exposures to radiation should follow the ALARA principle; that is, be As Low As Reasonably Achievable.  This ensures that the benefits balance the risks.

emkfoundation

A&Edepartment