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CT Scans Deliver More Radiation to Obese People: Study
Date:4/13/2012

ne's body has been actually sliced."

In the new study, the researchers created 10 computerized male and female "phantoms" that represented people of various body types, ranging from normal to morbidly obese. (Previous research using phantoms had mostly looked at average-sized people).

The researchers then calculated how much radiation would enter the bodies during CT scans. In some cases, the dose that reached organs was as much as 57 percent higher in the obese patients.

"We want to tell people that obese patients receive high doses and that we can use our phantom to quantify the specific dose for the patient," Ding said. "Our study can be a good reference for radiologists."

What should patients do with this information? Ding suggests that they ask their radiologist about the risk they face when they undergo a CT scan. Patients are at especially high risk at hospitals that take multiple CT scans of individual patients in a day, Ding said.

The study appeared recently in the journal Physics in Medicine & Biology.

More information

For more about obesity, visit the U.S. National Library of Medicine.

SOURCES: Dushyant Sahani, M.D., director of CT imaging services, Massachusetts General Hospital, and associate professor of radiology, Harvard Medical School, Boston; Aiping Ding, Ph.D., research associate, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, N.Y.; April 6, 2012, Physics in Medicine & Biology


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