CT scans are vital diagnostic tools frequently used to detect orthopedic issues that standard X-rays cannot pick up. Surgeons rely on these scans to help them see internal bleeding, fractures and other issues that must be addressed. While incredibly beneficial for diagnosing concerns, this type of scan does expose patients to radiation. In an effort to reduce the exposure, researchers recently tested a protocol that draws on an ultra-low dose of radiation to create diagnostic images.
The new protocol requires about 14 times less radiation than a standard CT scan. The results of the study showed the diagnostic abilities diminished very little. A 98 percent accuracy was found in diagnosing fractures while an 89 percent accurate rate was achieved diagnosing patients without a fracture. The rate was similar to standard CT scans.
Although still under study, the new protocol may be helpful in assisting physicians in lowering radiation exposure when concerns exist. This is especially so in young children and young adults. While researchers agree the cancer risk posed by CT radiation exposure is very minimal, the issue is still a concern for many. Studies have produced conflicting results as to the increased cancer risk posed by scans. Even a slight risk can add to patient concern, which is why the new protocol, called REDUCTION, which stands for reduced effective dose using computed tomography in orthopaedic injury, was developed.
How soon REDUCTION might be used on a widespread basis remains unclear. The effectiveness of the results, however, shows that the possibility to limit exposure while still gaining diagnostic benefits does exist.
People who are concerned about any testing procedures ordered by their doctors are urged to discuss them directly with their healthcare provider. Today’s diagnostic procedures offer critical looks inside the body to diagnose injury and illness. These tools enable doctors to see inside in ways that were only once achievable through surgery. While radiation is used to obtain the necessary images, the general consensus is that exposure risks are extremely minimal.