Cedars Sinai Marina del Rey Hospital Alert: COVID-19 (CORONAVIRUS) information for patients and visitors LEARN MORE >>

What are the risks of medical imaging procedures?

Medical imaging is not without risks, and it is important to understand them.

The level of radiation given off during these procedures is higher than radiation naturally occurring in everyday life, and, although the effects may never turn into DNA damage and cancer, there is a chance that undergoing these procedures increases the possibility that such damage may occur over time. CT scans, for instance, are more precise than X-ray scans, but that is because they operate with higher levels of radiation that X-ray scans.

However, the risks in undergoing a medical imaging procedure are usually offset by the benefits. Doctors who recommend these procedures usually do not do so without considering whether the patient is able to stand the procedure in the short term and long term and whether the suspected disease or abnormality truly warrants undergoing this procedure, knowing the risks involved. You are much better off doing that X-ray or CT scan if an abnormality that is detected with their help can be treated or operated on. Also, consider the incremental improvements in imaging techniques in recent times, leading to safer procedures.

Sometimes patients are recommended medical imaging procedures without any real need or urgency. Do not undergo such procedures that aren't recommended by a trusted doctor and justified by medical suspicions or conditions. Also, make sure you receive these procedures in a specialized clinic or hospital that is experienced in working with just the right equipment and dosage. The latest equipment can produce great quality imaging with lower doses, so you need to always choose a trusted, well-equipped clinic or hospital for your medical imaging.

Disclaimer: We do not assume responsibility for the use of the provided information or its interpretation. Our efforts are towards providing current and reliable information; however these should not be considered, or used as a substitute for diagnosis or treatment.

Source: https://www.cedars-sinai.edu/Education/Medical-Library/