By Matthew J. Bassignani, MD – Medical Director, Radiology Department
Patients with stones and cancer are increasingly aware of excess radiation exposure associated with multiple CT scans. While medical radiation is typically safe for patients it is still important to be aware of the doses used. At Virginia Urology, we strive to ensure that the radiation doses used with our CT Scans are just enough to get the information needed from the scan but not so much as to be harmful to the patient. Each and every one of the CT scan protocols has built into them a low-dose component so that we can minimize the amount of radiation delivered while still answering the doctor’s questions.
For example, a CT scan done for kidney stones on average is approximately 4-5 millisieverts (mSv). This is only slightly more than the natural background radiation that a patient receives in 1 year (3.3 mSv). This must always be weighed against how much benefit the patient and the physician receive from the information contained in the scan. This small additional dose of radiation becomes a minor consequence versus the very useful information supplied by the information on the CT scan.