Low-Dose CT Scans: December 3, 2013

Sometimes less really is more - that certainly applies to low-dose CT scans.

“Any type of x-ray radiation, even the smallest dose, carries a very small risk.  And when you multiply that over millions of people, that risk is real and results in several radiation induced cancers,” says Dr. Cory Duffek, neuroradiologist on the medical staff of Lee Memorial Health System.

Over the past few decades, the amount of radiation emitted during even the standard CT scan is between 20 and 30% lower. With new technology, a single machine can deliver various doses, depending on the patient and procedure.

“We go through a long process deciding with each and every scan that we do, exactly how much radiation we’re going to be using and how much of the new software available to us we’re going to be using, in order to try and maintain the same amount of image quality but decrease the dose,” says Dr. Duffek.

Low-dose scanners combine the best of both worlds. Providing detailed images while managing to lower the amount of radiation. It is especially important when it comes to children who are more sensitive than adults.

“There’s been a big push to use what we call a pediatric dose for pediatric scanning. With our new generation of scanners now, it allows us to lower that dose approximately another 15 to 30%,” says Dr. Duffek.

Exploring the body with the minimal risk to the patient makes low-dose scanners a screening super sleuth.