Typical levels of radiation exposure caused by various imaging tests

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What are the typical levels of radiation exposure caused by various imaging tests?

The actual radiation dose to a patient depends on many factors, including age, gender, body habitus, the type of imaging study, and the parts of the body being radiated. Skin dose is typically higher than organ dose, because the subcutaneous tissues absorb some radiation. Recall that effective dose is not a representation of actual radiation dose to the patient, but rather a metric intended to express the risk of adverse events as a result of the exposure. Mettler et al. provided a detailed catalog of effective doses for diagnostic, interventional, and nuclear medicine procedures in 2008, some of which are summarized in the below table . As a result of the adoption of a variety of dose reduction measures, these reported values are higher than those currently used in clinical practice.

Effective Doses for Common Diagnostic Radiology Examinations

EXAMINATION/PROCEDUREAVERAGE EFFECTIVE DOSE (MSV)RANGE OF EFFECTIVE DOSES IN THE LITERATURE (MSV)
Radiography
Posteroanterior chest0.020.007-0.050
Posteroanterior and lateral chest0.10.05-0.24
Lumbar spine1.50.5-1.8
Knee0.005N/A
Fluoroscopy
Upper gastrointestinal series61.5-12.0
Barium enema82.0-18.0
CT
Head20.9-4.0
Chest74.0-18.0
Abdomen83.5-25.0
Pelvis63.3-10.0
Interventional
Head and/or neck angiography50.8-19.6
Coronary angiography (diagnostic)72.0-15.8
Abdominal angiography or aortography124.0-48.0
Transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunt (TIPS) placement7020-180
Dental Radiography
Intraoral radiography0.0050.0002-0.0010
Panoramic radiography0.10.007-0.090
Dental CT0.2N/A

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