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Variable Doses of Radiation Raise Safety Concerns for CT Procedures
Date:12/14/2009

Radiation doses from common CT procedures vary widely and are higher than generally thought, raising concerns about increased risk for cancer, according to a new study led by University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) imaging specialists.

San Francisco, CA (Vocus) December 14, 2009 -- Radiation doses from common CT procedures vary widely and are higher than generally thought, raising concerns about increased risk for cancer, according to a new study led by University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) imaging specialists.

In day-to-day clinical practice, we found significant variation in the radiation doses for the same type of computed tomography procedures within institutions and across institutions," said lead investigator Rebecca Smith-Bindman, MD, a professor of radiology at UCSF. Our results highlight the need for greater standardization because this is a medical safety issue."

Computed tomography imaging, known as CT, is a diagnostic procedure that uses special x-ray equipment to obtain cross-sectional pictures of the body that provide detailed images of organs, bones, and other tissues. CT is associated with higher radiation exposure than conventional x-rays, yet radiation dosages that patients receive from the newer CT scanners have gone largely unregulated, according to Smith-Bindman, who also is a UCSF professor of epidemiology and biostatistics and obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive sciences.

Our study provides some initial data documenting the doses that patients receive when they undergo actual CT examinations and this is different than the doses when phantoms-- sophisticated plastic models
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