Years of research told doctors what many already suspected: that one-size-fit all radiography can be bad for children.
“The pediatric populations we know from scientific studies are most susceptible to radiation and radiation-induced cancers. They’re growing and they’re developing and that makes it more susceptible,” says Dr. Cory Duffek, neuroradiologist with Lee Memorial Health System.
It’s estimated that reducing the number of unnecessary and high dose CT scans given to kids could cut their lifetime risk of associated cancers by as much as 62%.
“So over the last several years there’s been a big push to use what we call a ‘pediatric dose’ for pediatric scanning,” says Dr. Duffek.
CT scans use X-ray to give doctors cross-sectional images of a patient’s body. In children, they are most frequently to evaluate an injury. Now technology is making it easier for doctors to get what they need and still play it safe.
“We’re looking at one of our new GE scanners - this is one of the new scanners it has the low dose techniques available to us,” says Dr. Duffek.
Each Lee Memorial Health System radiology facility is equipped with scanners that provide variable doses, based on patient and need. Today, even a standard CT scan is much lower than 20 years ago. The latest equipment includes child-size protocols built in.
“With our new generation of scanners now it allows us to lower that dose approximately another 13 to 30% and still get the same image quality that we were seeing,” says Dr. Duffek.
The immediate benefit of getting a timely CT scan makes it worthwhile. But lowering radiation exposure cuts down on risk and worry.