7.  Too Much X-Ray Exposure?

By Thomas J. Haverbush, M.D.

Transforming patient information into patient understanding.

Today I want to address a silent problem you should be aware of to stay healthy.

Americans are the most imaged population in the world. I’m speaking of the whole range of x-ray studies available today. The list is very long. Doctors seem very willing to use all the new technology and patients often ask that certain tests be done that they have heard about.


The subject today is the CAT scan. By the way CAT is short for computed axial tomography. But you already knew that, right? Sure.

CT is not new by any means, but are you aware that there is a significant x-ray exposure with CT studies? The patient is scanned with x-rays and the computer makes 3 dimensional images of organs that provide far greater detail than plain films.

For example, a CT exam of the chest exposes the patient to many times the radiation you get from a standard chest x-ray. CT is often used in Emergency Room settings to get information quickly about head injuries and abdominal problems.

Our intention is not to frighten patients away from a test that could possibly provide a lifesaving diagnosis. When a scan is done the right way for the right reason the benefits clearly outweigh the risk of doing it.

I want my patients to be educated and realize it is OK to ask questions. In order to make sure you are not subjected to unnecessary radiation, please do the following.

1. Listen to your doctor if he or she says a scan may not be necessary. Don’t insist that one be done because it would make you feel reassured.

2. Keep careful track of how many CT exams you have had and make sure your doctor is aware of your history.

3. Ask your physician whether a scan is absolutely necessary or whether another diagnostic test might work instead.

4. If you are healthy, don’t have a full body scan to screen for hidden problems.

My patients put their trust in me and what I do improves the quality of their lives.

Lakeview Times Orthopaedic Zone

All Orthopaedic Surgery problems including this week’s subject can be evaluated by Dr. Haverbush at his office.

315 Warwick Drive

Alma, Michigan 48801

Phone 989-463-6092

Office is across the street from Gratiot Medical Center.

Please call to make an appointment usually the same week you call.

Attention!! Besides what you read today there is a huge amount of musculoskeletal information on the office website www.orthopodsurgeon.com. Please check it out.

Be well.

Dr. Haverbush

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