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In the past year I have had a chest xray,

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Posted on Wed, 27 Mar 2019
Question: In the past year I have had a chest xray, both hips xrays, a spine xray , and a single head ct scan . All potential issues were ruled out for now, but is that too much radiation for one year? Should I be concerned? An honest answer is much appreciated
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Answered by Dr. Aaron Branch (59 minutes later)
Brief Answer:
No need to be concerned

Detailed Answer:
Hello,
I'm Dr. Branch, thanks for using the 'Ask A Doctor' service.

The only scan that I would consider as at all risk would be the CT scan that you had since CT scans expose you to as much radiation as 100 to 200 X-rays.

However, the radiation with a CT scan is still small, and the estimated risk of getting any serious pathology from one CT scan is estimated to be about 1 in 2000. There are other factors that go into that, such as if you are younger, the chances of developing a malignancy are increased. The area of the body that is scanned is also a factor, with brain tissue being less likely to develop anything serious.

So overall, even though the radiation from CT scans is definitely something to consider, overall the risk is low in your case. Unless you've had many previous CT scans or other exposure to radiation, I don't think you need to worry about it.

Also, the risk is related to your total exposure, and having several of these scans or X-rays within a short period of time is not necessarily a significant factor.

I hope that helps.
Please let me know if you have any other questions about any of that and I would be glad to discuss it with you further.


Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Arnab Banerjee
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Follow up: Dr. Aaron Branch (15 hours later)
I am a 29 year old , you said it's more risky in younger people , is that more a concern
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Answered by Dr. Aaron Branch (8 hours later)
Brief Answer:
A little

Detailed Answer:
Being 29 years old does increase the chances somewhat that you could develop cancer, but your overall risk is still very low. I would not worry about one CT scan, normally those who develop cancer from radiation have had several CT scans throughout their life, and the most important thing for you at this point is just making sure there is good medical reason for any CT scanning in the future. Sometimes doctors can be quick to order CT scans because they can easily rule in or rule out many different problems, but there are often other imaging that can be done, depending on the area (for example, an ultrasound can often be done instead of a CT scan of the abdomen), so I would just make sure to discuss with your doctor whether a CT scan is absolutely necessary in the future.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Raju A.T
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Follow up: Dr. Aaron Branch (16 hours later)
Lastly - so since only my head had a CT scan , that means the radiation was only localized to my head and close by tissues? In other words no other parts of body were affected?
doctor
Answered by Dr. Aaron Branch (6 hours later)
Brief Answer:
Mostly to the head

Detailed Answer:
The CT scan was focused on the head, so that is where the vast majority of the radiation would have gone. There would be some to the rest of your body, but generally this would be a small amount and should be negligible.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Raju A.T
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Dr. Aaron Branch

General & Family Physician

Practicing since :2011

Answered : 917 Questions

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In the past year I have had a chest xray,

Brief Answer: No need to be concerned Detailed Answer: Hello, I'm Dr. Branch, thanks for using the 'Ask A Doctor' service. The only scan that I would consider as at all risk would be the CT scan that you had since CT scans expose you to as much radiation as 100 to 200 X-rays. However, the radiation with a CT scan is still small, and the estimated risk of getting any serious pathology from one CT scan is estimated to be about 1 in 2000. There are other factors that go into that, such as if you are younger, the chances of developing a malignancy are increased. The area of the body that is scanned is also a factor, with brain tissue being less likely to develop anything serious. So overall, even though the radiation from CT scans is definitely something to consider, overall the risk is low in your case. Unless you've had many previous CT scans or other exposure to radiation, I don't think you need to worry about it. Also, the risk is related to your total exposure, and having several of these scans or X-rays within a short period of time is not necessarily a significant factor. I hope that helps. Please let me know if you have any other questions about any of that and I would be glad to discuss it with you further.