MEDICAL IMAGING AND RADIATION SAFETY AT MAYFAIR
As a medical imaging provider, Mayfair Diagnostics is committed to providing our patients with the very best imaging experience possible. An important part of this process includes addressing any questions or concerns our patients may have.
We often receive questions from our patients about radiation safety during medical imaging, so we created this infographic to illustrate how radiation from medical imaging compares to other sources of radiation exposure. Below we’ve also answered some common questions about this topic.
WHAT TYPES OF RADIATION ARE USED IN MEDICAL IMAGING?
At Mayfair, we use two types of electromagnetic radiation to produce images of your body. The first type is X-rays, which are used in several of our exams, including:
- Bone mineral densitometry (BMD)
- Computed tomography (CT)
- Pain management – certain procedures use fluoroscopy, a type of continuous X-ray, to guide injections
During these procedures X-rays are passed through your body and some of them get absorbed. The X-rays not absorbed create the image, while those that are absorbed contribute to your radiation dose.
The second type of electromagnetic radiation, gamma rays, is used by nuclear medicine imaging. Gamma rays are introduced intravenously (in the form of a radiopharmaceutical) and emit outward to the detectors. These rays can also be combined with CT imaging, which uses X-rays, to produce very detailed images of your body.
HOW SAFE ARE MEDICAL IMAGING PROCEDURES THAT USE RADIATION?
All exposures of radiation are held to the standard of ALARA (as low as reasonably achievable) for all medical imaging exams that involve radiation. This means that no or low exposure is best, and the risk-benefit ratio should always be considered.
Radiation dosage is measured in millisieverts (mSv). When talking about the risks of radiation exposure, we are referring to possible side effects, such as the chance of developing cancer later in life. If medical imaging is recommended, your doctor will consider the benefits of an accurate diagnosis and compare it to the small risk of radiation exposure This chart from the Radiological Society of North America compares approximate background radiation levels and effective radiation doses in adults for common radiology procedures.
HOW DOES MAYFAIR HELP REDUCE RISK OF RADIATION EXPOSURE IN MEDICAL IMAGING?
Health care governing bodies have created guidelines to ensure patient safety is a priority. Health care practitioners are encouraged to order X-rays only when necessary, and only when the benefit outweighs the small risk of exposure.
At Mayfair, we take each patient’s history to help us understand the reason for the exam and evaluate any potential risks. For exams with higher potential radiation exposure, our technologists check patient histories for records of previous imaging and coordinate with a radiologist to confirm the specific number and type of images. Lead shielding is also available to cover vulnerable areas of the body.
During each patient appointment, we make sure that patients understand the purpose of their exam, that we have their consent, and that consent is based on a true representation of the benefits and risks of each procedure.
For more information about the procedures offered at Mayfair Diagnostics clinics, please visit our services page.
Canadian Association of Medical Radiation Technologists (2021) “Communicating Risk and Benefit.” CAMRT Member Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct. Accessed July 27, 2021.
Canadian Association of Medical Radiation Technologists (2021) “Minimizing Patient Exposure.” CAMRT Member Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct. Accessed July 27, 2021.