However, this can sometimes lead to changes in the DNA of other cells that survive radiation, which can eventually lead to the development of a second cancer. Radiotherapy is also sometimes used to treat serious medical conditions in addition to cancer. X-ray technology x-ray generator is one of the oldest and most common forms of medical imaging used by doctors. X-rays are a form of electromagnetic radiation that sends small waves through the body, which are then absorbed in different amounts depending on the materials they pass through.
This gives obstetricians a vastly improved picture of the baby’s health and progress in the womb, allowing them to determine problems much earlier in pregnancy. In addition to obstetrics, ultrasound is widely used on other parts of the body, including the soft tissues of the neck, breasts, abdomen, pelvis, and soft tissues of the limbs. It is also used as a guide for soft tissue biopsies and for some treatments. X-rays play an important role in fighting cancer, with high-energy radiation used to kill cancer cells and shrink tumors.
Patients undergo treatment outside the body (known as external radiation therapy) or radioactive material that is inserted into the body very close to cancer cells. Radiotherapy can be dangerous, but it is still received by about 50% of cancer patients during their treatment. In medical diagnostic applications, low-energy X-rays are undesirable because they are completely absorbed by the body, increasing the radiation dose without contributing to the image.
Although the benefit of a clinically appropriate X-ray imaging study generally far outweighs the risk, efforts should be made to minimize this risk by reducing unnecessary exposure to ionizing radiation. To help reduce the risk to the patient, all ionizing radiation tests should only be performed when necessary to answer a medical question, treat a disease, or accompany a procedure. However, the principle of “As low as reasonably achievable” should always be followed when choosing equipment settings to minimize patients’ exposure to radiation. When diagnosing a condition or disease, doctors often order diagnostic scans such as an X-ray, CT scan or MRI. While medical knowledge and discernment are the foundation of healthcare providers’ diagnoses and decisions, medical imaging is an essential part of confirming any diagnosis.
For the average American, medical X-rays are their biggest source of exposure to man-made radiation. Higher dose procedures, such as CT, interventional procedures, or multiple exposures, may cause biological effects in some cases. A higher absorbed dose means a higher risk of side effects: the relationship is almost linear. Side effects may include redness of the skin, infertility, cataracts and hair loss. There are no reports of radiation exposure in diagnostic and interventional procedures that cause infertility or cataracts.
For many examinations, such as X-rays of the head, chest and limbs, the dose for a fetus would be very low, as the patient’s pelvic area is not exposed to the X-ray. However, for the low dose range, no reliable information on radiation risks can be verified. For practical radiation protection purposes, it is assumed as a precautionary measure that each X-ray examination involves a certain, albeit low, radiation risk. This is because radiation protection conservatively assumes that there is no threshold dose below which the radiation risk is zero.