Safer radiologic imaging of otolaryngologic disease in children

July 2, 2012, American Academy of Otolaryngology

Advances in diagnostic imaging have benefited children with otolaryngologic disease, allowing shorter hospital stays, fewer invasive procedures, more targeted surgical procedures, and earlier and more precise diagnoses. However, despite improved technology, concerns about exposure of children to ionizing radiation have recently come to the forefront, according to a commentary in the July 2012 issue of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery.

Children have more radiosensitive body tissues than adults, and also tend to live longer, giving the effects of time to manifest. According to sources cited in the study, about seven million CT scans are performed on children every year in the United States alone, and medical source radiation exposure accounts for almost half our total radiation exposure in the United States.

This commentary discusses efforts "to reduce the exposure of children to radiation from , with focus on the responsibilities of the otolaryngologist in such efforts." The challenge lies, the authors write, in determining when CT scans are necessary and making this information widely available to otolaryngologists and others.

Several suggestions and resources are provided. The authors discuss the ALARA principle (As Low As Reasonably Achievable) and suggest that reducing radiation dosage is as simple as scanning only the indicated area. Two online resources exist: The American College of Radiology has provided Appropriateness Criteria (acr.org/ac) and the Alliance for Radiation Safety in Pediatric Imaging has created the site www.imagegently.org.

Other sources cited in the study provide three strategies to reduce radiation exposure from CT scans: 1) order fewer CT scans, 2) use another imaging modality that does not use when possible, 3) reduce the radiation dose of each study.

The authors conclude that "safer imaging of children is a shared responsibility." It is important to order the right test at the right time, and to "consider the appropriateness of imaging, assuring that the best modality is being ordered, that the imaging actually influences management, and that the timing of imaging is ideal."

Explore further: Use of dedicated pediatric imaging departments for pediatric CT reduces radiation dose

Related Stories

Use of dedicated pediatric imaging departments for pediatric CT reduces radiation dose

May 1, 2012
The use of a dedicated pediatric imaging department (with dedicated pediatric computed tomography (CT) technologists) for pediatric CT scans significantly reduces the radiation dose delivered to the patient, according to ...

Experts offer pointers for optimizing radiation dose in pediatric CT

January 6, 2012
An article in the January issue of the Journal of the American College of Radiology summarizes methods for radiation dose optimization in pediatric computed tomography (CT) scans. Approximately seven to eight million CT examinations ...

Experts offer pointers for optimizing radiation dose in head CT

August 1, 2011
An article in the August issue of the Journal of the American College of Radiology summarizes methods for radiation dose optimization in head computed tomography (CT) scans. Head CT is the second most commonly performed ...

Experts offer pointers for optimizing radiation dose in chest CT

September 1, 2011
An article in the September issue of the Journal of the American College of Radiology summarizes methods for radiation dose optimization in chest computed tomography (CT) scans. Chest CT is the third most commonly performed ...

First report of increased safety using simultaneous techniques for cardiac testing published

October 19, 2011
Canadian Journal of Cardiology has published a paper on the safety of cardiac imaging methods. This study is important for patients worried about radiation exposure during X-ray based studies of the heart. X-ray based methods ...

Recommended for you

Drug may help surgical patients stop opioids sooner

December 13, 2017
(HealthDay)—Opioid painkillers after surgery can be the first step toward addiction for some patients. But a common drug might cut the amount of narcotics that patients need, a new study finds.

Children best placed to explain facts of surgery to patients, say experts

December 13, 2017
Getting children to design patient information leaflets may improve patient understanding before they have surgery, finds an article in the Christmas issue of The BMJ.

Burn victim saved by skin grafts from identical twin (Update)

November 23, 2017
A man doomed to die after suffering burns across 95 percent of his body was saved by skin transplants from his identical twin in a world-first operation, French doctors said Thursday.

Is a common shoulder surgery useless?

November 21, 2017
(HealthDay)—New research casts doubt on the true effectiveness of a common type of surgery used to ease shoulder pain.

Study shows electric bandages can fight biofilm infection, antimicrobial resistance

November 6, 2017
Researchers at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center have shown - for the first time - that special bandages using weak electric fields to disrupt bacterial biofilm infection can prevent infections, combat antibiotic ...

Obesity increases incidence, severity, costs of knee dislocations

November 3, 2017
A new study of more than 19,000 knee dislocation cases in the U.S. between 2000 and 2012 provides a painful indication of how the nation's obesity epidemic is changing the risk, severity and cost of a traumatic injury.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.