medical imaging
Doctor looking at a monitor with patient's MRI scan results

7 Medical Imaging Myths and Misconceptions

Radiology is a discipline of medicine that uses medical imaging methods to diagnose and cure injuries and illnesses. It is one of the most rapidly growing fields in medicine today. It would be impossible to correctly diagnose and treat a wide variety of ailments without medical imaging technology.

For many years prior to the development of radiological scans, physicians were forced to depend on their intuition and the patient’s medical history in order to make an accurate diagnosis. In most cases, that prognosis came out incorrect. Modern scanning technology makes it possible to get a clear and precise diagnosis based on the findings of a diagnostic imaging procedure, which is the first step on the road to therapy.

Radiologists are medical physicians who play a critical role in diagnosing and treating patients with various medical conditions. They will often continue to provide your physician with new suggestions based on the findings of your most recent imaging tests.

There are a lot of misconceptions regarding diagnostic imaging services and radiography in general that need to be addressed. Let’s take a closer look at some of the most popular misconceptions about radiology and see whether they hold up to scrutiny.

Myth #1: Radiation from Diagnostic Imaging is Dangerous to Your Health

Even though it is accurate that there are risks connected with excessive radiation exposure, the radiation utilized in diagnostic imaging techniques is limited. In other words, it is insufficient to cause harm.

Radiation may be found everywhere around you and is a natural component of the environment. As per the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), we are all exposed to radiation in a variety of commonplace ways. In reality, when you travel in an airplane, you are often exposed to higher radiation levels. Also, we are exposed to radiation every day, which comes from a variety of sources, including the foods we consume, natural earth elements like water, and naturally radioactive elements in our bodies. There are several scenarios where various types of radiation are utilized safely, including food processing, mobile phones, smoke detectors, and even certain light bulbs.

The millisievert is the unit of measurement for a radiation dosage that has been determined to be effective (mSv). Over a year, the typical individual gets about three millisieverts (mSv) of radiation from their surrounding environment.

In contrast, the typical chest X-ray is equal to a week of radiation exposure. A dental X-ray is the equivalent of roughly one day of exposure. A CT scan of the head is the equivalent of about eight months of exposure. When conducting any kind of radiation-based medical imaging scan, imaging technicians and other radiologic experts make every effort to expose patients to the least amount of radiation possible.

Accrediting organizations conduct frequent audits of accredited radiography facilities to verify that they are maintaining the criteria required for their certification. Since certified radiography centers have precautions in place to protect their patients, you may rest certain that they will not overexposed you to radiation during your procedure.

Myth #2: All scanning technology emits radiation.

Numerous radiology procedures do not expose the patient to any radiation. One of them is magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), which is a kind of imaging that utilizes magnets rather than radiation to get images. The magnets generate images of inside body structures using radio waves rather than radiation.

Ultrasound scanning is another non-radiation scanning technique. This technique employs real-time transmission of sound waves to a nearby computer, which converts the waves’ path through the body into pictures. One of the primary reasons of ultrasonography usage during pregnancy is to protect the baby from radiation exposure.

Myth #3: X-rays are an antiquated technology

Indeed, X-rays remain the most frequently used and readily accessible diagnostic imaging technique today. When compared to other kinds of medical imaging, they offer rapid findings and are very cheap.

Due to technological advancements in X-ray imaging, the digital X-ray is now accessible, which emits even less radiation than conventional X-ray equipment. X-rays often serve as a starting point for subsequent diagnostic tests, which offer even more information.

Myth# 4: Radiological Imaging Have an Effect on Fertility

According to the RSNA, radiological imaging, including X-rays and CT scans, provides almost little to no danger to men or women’s fertility. These examinations of infertility induce no documented instances.

Nonetheless, since radiation builds in your body over time, you will wear a lead-lined apron during x-ray examinations, and CT scans to safeguard your reproductive organs and limit the amount of radiation you receive.

Myth# 5: X-Rays Are Harmful to Pregnant Women

X-rays may be harmful to the growing baby during the first trimester. Pregnant women may get X-rays without fear of harm with adequate precautions. Often, the doctor will utilize non-radiation medical imaging equipment during this time period owing to the danger. It is preferable to utilize non-radioactive medical imaging equipment during pregnancy.

However, high radiation induces birth abnormalities and damage to the baby. Radiation is typically only used in diagnostic examinations when absolutely necessary.

Myth# 6: X-Rays Are No Longer Required

In the United States, X-rays are still the most frequently used imaging test. X-rays continue to be the most accurate method of examining bone, dental, and certain soft tissue injuries. Due to the widespread usage of X-rays as a diagnostic tool, there is a strong need for imaging technicians, which adds to the excitement of this fascinating career option.

Myth# 7: Medical Radiation Makes You Become Radioactive

Radiation therapy is a frequent cancer treatment that destroys cancer cells and also harms normal cells in the process. However, the majority of healthy cells quickly revert to their usual function. Radiation treatment is usually directed only at a tumor or cancer cells and does not spread throughout the body. However, for some types of cancer, radiologists may administer radiation treatment orally or intravenously. Typically, radiation treatment targets the tumor directly and does not extend beyond that region.

Verdict

Numerous misconceptions surround medical imaging, which regrettably scares patients. They think that medical imaging is hazardous as a result of these misconceptions. However, there is some danger, but that can be avoided by following its restriction. Many people think that all imaging entails radiation, which is untrue and among the most pernicious misconceptions. There are many non-radiation medical imaging scans available. Medical imaging may help doctors figure out whether a patient is healthy enough to undergo surgery or if they require other types of therapy. Additionally, it assesses the efficacy of therapy. Medical imaging offers a plethora of helpful applications that are critical for diagnosing patients.

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