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X Rays

  1. Dec 11, 2006 #1
    Anyone know the future uses of x rays within a hospital? or what the future adaptations are to make it less harmful etc?

    help! xx
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 11, 2006 #2

    Danger

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    I'm not too familiar with the topic. The only advance that I'm aware of right now is the switch to digital imaging from film.
     
  4. Dec 11, 2006 #3

    berkeman

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    To make them less harmful.... The only thing that comes to mind is to make the imaging system more sensitive, so that lower intensities can be used. I think the digital imaging that Danger mentions may help in that regard as well. Also, advances in MRI may help to displace some of the traditional X-ray uses, which will also help to lower X-ray exposure for some patients.
     
  5. Dec 11, 2006 #4
    What would be the concern with X-Rays? If you are a frequent flyer, you certainly get much more radiation exposure than a broken leg in the hospital.
     
  6. Dec 11, 2006 #5

    berkeman

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    I think the concern is not just about one broken leg. It's about repeated X-rays, like for a disease or condition. You are correct about frequent fliers (and pilots and flight attendants) getting pretty high exposure to some wavelengths. But I know that when I broke several ribs early this year and had complications, my docs were being careful to minimize the number of chest X-rays that they had to take. You could probably find some good info about X-ray exposure issues via google or maybe on webMD.
     
  7. Dec 11, 2006 #6

    russ_watters

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    My dentist told me their digital x-ray machine uses 90% less radiation than a film machine.
     
  8. Dec 11, 2006 #7

    Danger

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    :bugeye:
    I guess it makes sense, but it surprises me. Maybe due to being able to fine-tune every sensor to the appropriate wavelength?
     
  9. Dec 12, 2006 #8
    With a ccd-detector for example you have lots of sensitive elements which basiclly count single photons. With a film you need enough radiation to actually physically color the film. Not that surprising if you think about it.
     
  10. Dec 12, 2006 #9
    when it comes to diagnostic x-rays, the main driver is a risk vs benefit determination by the clinician. Does the clinical information derived from an x-ray study exceed the small increased risk of developing a cancer 20 years or so down the road? A commonly quoted value for the number of excess cancers due to radiation exposure is 0.0001 per Sievert (Sv) (1 excess cancer in 10000 people per Sv). The topic of 'harm' from x-rays is pretty subjective and prone to significant debate, because for normal routine exposures (even repeated exposure), any potential 'harm' is stochastic in nature and generally not manifested until many years down the road.

    Digital x-ray detectors based on flat panel transistor arrays are getting more widespread, but there's only so much you can reduce the amount of radiation required before you run into problems with noise that affects image quality.

    MRI can be the primary imaging modality for certain conditions, but is unlikely to replace most routine radiographic procedures because it's expensive and slow. Likewise for CT for being expensive and involving much higher radiation exposures.

    Despite the technology, reduction in radiation exposure boils down to technologist and radiologist education. You can give them the latest and greatest technology, but if they insist on using techniques they developed for film/screen systems they're not taking advantage of anything.

    There is a lot of work that goes into developing optimum x-ray techniques that provide the best image quality for the lowest radiation dose. A lot of it depends on the anatomy being imaged, the equipment being used and the radiologist doing the reading. Techs and radiologists need to be educated about the technology they're using so that they can develop optimized x-ray techniques.
     
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