If you’ve had X-rays before, even for a dental check-up, you’re likely already familiar with the big lead apron or blanket you’re asked to wear to shield your body from the X-ray’s radiation. This may concern you, as you’ve likely heard in the media about how high doses of radiation exposure can be harmful or even lead to cancer. However, most X-rays taken today have only a fraction of the radiation produced by those old-school imaging techniques requiring film, because today’s most doctors today use digital X-rays. These X-rays produce only about 10% as much radiation as a traditional X-ray does.
It’s important to remember, too: People are exposed to radiation all the time from natural sources, mainly from the sun, radioactive gases from the natural breakdown of uranium, and so forth. Even riding in an airplane can expose you to radiation. Learn more about the risks of radiation exposure here.
The Difference Between Film to Digital X-Rays
X-rays were first invented in 1895, and the technology has significantly improved and advanced since then. Advanced digital X-rays are the simplest way for physicians to diagnose bone injuries or diseases such as fractures or arthritis as the physician examines the captured images of the body’s internal structures. Digital X-rays are a much more efficient, cost-effective, and safer method of obtaining diagnostic images than traditional film X-rays. Film also is prone to degrade in quality over time, as it is more difficult to store and retrieve those images, whereas digital images can be saved and accessed with no loss of quality over time. For all these reasons, doctors by and large prefer digital X-rays over the traditional film ones.
I Still Have Concerns About Radiation Exposure from an X-Ray. What Can I Do?
You can discuss your concerns with your doctor regarding radiation from X-rays and other types of medical imaging tests. Remember, though, your doctor will only recommend an X-ray, CT scan, nuclear scan, or a different type of imaging test if they believe the benefits outweigh any risks. Still, it’s reasonable to ask whether your doctor would consider a lower-dose radiation imaging test, or consider a test that involves no radiation, such as ultrasounds or MRI scans.
Contact Orthopedic Associates of Southwest Florida
Do you need imaging tests? We can help. Contact us at OSSWF today to schedule your appointment with one of our board-certified orthopedists. Reach out today at (239) 215-2008 to contact us.