Rest assured that all medical procedures are conducted only after the physician has compared the benefits and potential risk of each procedure. The test will only be conducted when the physician believes the benefits greatly outweigh the potential risk. Below is detailed information regarding common radiology procedures, but we encourage you to speak with your physician if you have any additional concerns or questions.

Measuring Radiation

Humans are exposed to radiation everyday from sources beyond our control, including naturally occurring radioactive materials and cosmic radiation from outer space. Radiation is measured in "mSv" which stands for millisievert. In a typical year a human is exposed to about 3 mSv from these natural sources. For simplicity radiology procedures are compared to normal exposure rates. For example, a person who has a chest X-ray is getting exposed to the same amount of radiation the individual would receive in approximately 10 days from nature.

Below is a list of common procedures compared to everyday radiation exposure.

  • Chest X-ray = 10 days
  • Skull X-ray = 8.5 days
  • CT scan: Entire Body = 3 years
  • CT scan: Head = 243 days
  • CT scan: Sinuses = 2 months
  • CT scan: Calcium Scoring = 8 months
  • DEXA scan = 1 day
  • Lumbar spine x-ray = 158 days
  • Mammography = 3 months
  • Upper G.I. exam = 1 year

Other Procedures:

  • PET scan: A patient's exposure to radiation is extremely low and the radioactive substance amount is so small that it doesn't affect normal body operation.
  • MRI: Extremely safe as long as no metal enters the room, because any metal object will be pulled by the large magnetic field produced by the MRI machine.
  • Ultrasound: There are no known harmful effects associated with an ultrasound procedure.

For more details on the UH Geauga Medical Center Department of Radiology or to schedule an appointment please call 440-285-6381.

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