suburban imaging radiology and ultrasound

Radiation Safety

What you should know about radiation safety

Radiation Exposure

We are all exposed to small amounts of radiation every day from natural sources, including soil, rocks, air, water and the atmosphere. This is called background radiation.

Other common sources of radiation exposure include cross-country airplane flights, radon gas found in homes and medical imaging exams that use x-rays, including:

  • CT (computed tomography)
  • PET/CT (positron emission tomography/computed tomography)
  • mammography
  • nuclear medicine exams
  • bone density (DEXA)
  • fluoroscopy (injections)
  • radiography (x-ray exams)
Radiation in Medical Imaging

The use of medical imaging has revolutionized the field of medicine and has significantly advanced the diagnosis, treatment and follow-up care people receive, improving health outcomes.

Imaging equipment has become more widely available and the number of imaging exams performed each year has also increased. Attention to radiation exposure from medical imaging exams has also grown.

There is some concern that radiation from medical x-rays could minimally increase your risk of developing cancer later in life. This potential risk decreases with age, so attention to radiation exposure is most important for children and young adults.

However, there is no definitive scientific evidence that radiation from medical imaging exams causes cancer. To be safe, the medical community advocates taking reasonable precautions to limit the radiation exposure from medical imaging, including:

  • image only when there is a clear reason
  • use the least amount of radiation needed for a quality diagnostic exam
  • image only the indicated area
  • limit multiple scans
  • suggest alternative imaging exams that do not use radiation, such as MRI or ultrasound, when appropriate

As Suburban Imaging, we use procedures that follow the American College of Radiology’s Appropriateness Criteria® to be certain that each exam is appropriate. We continually evaluate our processes and exam protocols to ensure that we use the lowest radiation dose necessary to obtain good quality images.

Radiation safety measures at Suburban Imaging

Nationally Accredited Outpatient Centers

All Suburban Imaging outpatient centers are accredited by the American College of Radiology (ACR). This accreditation certifies that:

  • our radiologists have met strictly-regulated education and training standards
  • our technologists are certified and credentialed by their respective national boards
  • our imaging equipment is routinely inspected by a third-party medical physicist to ensure it is operating correctly and producing optimal images
Radiation Safety Program

We maintain a radiation safety program to ensure compliance with federal and state radiation safety standards.  The program monitors imaging departments that:

  • use radiation to obtain images (CT, PET/CT, x-ray, fluoroscopy, mammography)
  • use radioactive materials for  medical purposes (nuclear medicine, PET/CT)

Our program is directed by one of our radiologists and a radiation physicist. Each is specially trained to understand the process, effects and medical use of radiation on the human body.

State-of-the-Art Equipment

Our advanced CT scanners adjust the amount of radiation needed to obtain quality images based on a patient’s body mass. For example, a 5’1” tall, 120 pound female patient would receive less radiation than a 6’2” tall, 360 pound male patient.

Image Gently® and Image Wisely™

Suburban Imaging is a member of the international Image Gently and Image Wisely campaigns.

An initiative of the Alliance for Radiation Safety in Pediatric Imaging, Image Gently educates medical professionals and parents about steps to lower the radiation dose in the imaging of children.

Image Wisely is an awareness program of several medical associations advocating the use of the lowest optimal radiation dose for necessary studies in adult imaging.

Medication and Imaging Record Card

We recommend that all patients maintain a list of their medications, medical allergies/reactions and imaging exams. Ask for an imaging record card at any of our reception desks to keep track of your information.

What You Should Know

If you have questions about your imaging exam, ask one of our radiology technologists. Important questions to ask about your imaging facility include:

  • Are the technologists credentialed?
    Suburban Imaging: yes
  • Does a board-certified radiologist protocol and interpret the study?
    Suburban Imaging: yes
  • Are the machines/scanners checked annually or more frequently by a medical physicist?
    Suburban Imaging: yes

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