What is radiation exposure from X-rays in children?
X-rays are a kind of imaging test. They give your healthcare provider information about structures inside the body. These tests expose children to low doses of radiation. X-rays are forms of radiant energy, like light or radio waves. X-rays have more energy than rays of visible light or radio waves. They can penetrate your body. This lets the radiologist to get X-ray pictures. You can then view these pictures on a photographic film or on a computer monitor. You may be concerned about exposing your child to radiation. But radiation is around us all the time.
Every day, we take in small amounts of radiation from the sun and other sources. People who live at high altitudes or who take many flights are around even more radiation exposure. But radiation can damage living tissue and alter DNA, especially in large doses. In very large doses, it can cause severe sickness and death.
Medical tests use much, much smaller doses of radiation. They don’t cause such problems. These lower doses of radiation may not be completely risk free, though. The main concern is that radiation exposure may slightly raise your child’s risk of cancer later in life. Some of this radiation exposure might come from natural sources. But some of it can come from certain medical tests, like X-rays.
Certain kinds of X-ray imaging expose your child to more radiation than others. Continuous X-ray (fluoroscopy) may expose your child to more radiation than a single X-ray. A CT scan is another type of imaging test that uses X-ray technology. A CT scan exposes your child to much more radiation than a single X-ray image (radiograph).
What Contributes To Radiation Emittance?
CT and interventional procedures are high dose procedures in radiology and yield higher individual patient doses than other radiological procedures do. The patient dose in CT is an important issue for children as reports suggest that in some centres the exposure factors used for scanning children are the same as for adults. This problem is relatively smaller in interventional procedures as most modern equipment automatically adjusts exposure factors based on the body thickness falling in the X-ray beam, automatically adjusts factors.
CT scanning contributes most to collective dose from radiographic exposures due to the increasing use of this modality. It has been reported that, of patients having CT scans, 30% of have three or more scans.
Typical values of Entrance Surface Dose (ESD) per radiograph and Dose Area Product (DAP) for common paediatric fluoroscopy examinations are given in the table below.
Typical dose levels in paediatric radiology
|Examination||Entrance surface dose (µGy)|
Check out the very best children aprons designed specifically to protect them against radiation in the Paediatric department