Understanding the Benefits and Risks of Medical Imaging Procedures
CDC’s Radiation Studies Branch (RSB) is expanding its efforts to increase awareness of radiation safety topics by including medical imaging information on the Radiation and Your Health website. Doctors often use medical imaging procedures to determine the best treatment options for patients. Some of these tests involve exposure to ionizing radiation which can present risks to patients. The information on the website focuses on educating individuals about choices available to them when making decisions about medical imaging procedures.
When choosing a particular medical imaging procedure, patients should consider the following:
- Medical imaging tests should be performed only when necessary.
- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends discussing the benefits and risks of medical imaging procedures with your doctor.
Medical imaging tests are non-invasive procedures that allow doctors to diagnose diseases and injuries without being intrusive. Most people have had one or more medical imaging tests that involves ionizing radiation. The type of imaging procedure that a doctor may suggest will depend on the health concern and the part of the body that is being examined.The following topics are included in the medical imaging section on the website.
- X-rays (including dental x-rays, chest x-rays and spine x-rays)
- CT or CAT scan (computer tomography scan)
- Fluoroscopy procedures
Patients should talk with their doctor about the best medical imaging procedure for their health concern.
The new information also provides steps that doctors and radiation experts can take to help reduce exposure to and risk of harm from diagnostic ionizing radiation. The benefits and risks of common medical imaging tests are featured to help individuals make the best decision about choosing a particular medical imaging procedure.
The website also include information on:
- Reducing exposure to diagnostic ionizing radiation
- Risks of medical imaging procedures for pregnant women
- Special considerations for children
- Medical imaging tests that do not use ionizing radiation
For more information, please see the following websites: