Straight, No Chaser: X-Ray Safety

Another great blog on a topic that needs to be addressed. In the current climate of patient satisfaction many providers feel pressure to make the patient happy. I see this with venous ultrasounds to evaluate for DVT. The patient says I think I might have a blood clot and the doctor orders one to “cover their rear”. The medical community needs to use the Wells score and evaluate the patient before just becoming complicite.


After the question of “Can I get an x-ray,” the next most common question I get (which should be the first) regarding x-rays is “Do I need this x-ray?” The answer is not just based on the presence or absence of a medical indication but the medical indication relative to the risk. I’ll provide examples of that consideration shortly. The point of this Straight, No Chaser is to get you to more frequently think of the risks of irradiating your body parts. After all, inappropriate doses of radiation have a much greater chance of contributing to cancer than turning you into a superhero.

Let’s start by getting this off the table: x-rays are safe when used appropriately and with care during each case. Radiologists and x-ray technologists are trained to toe the line between inadequate production of x-rays and overexposure such that patients are placed at risk. Additionally, your physicians…

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