Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Expert panel addresses safety in medical imaging

An expert panel convened today at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) to discuss medical imaging appropriateness, ionizing radiation from imaging procedures and efforts under way to curb overutilization, decrease radiation dose and educate patients on the risks and benefits of medical imaging.

Panel members included James A. Brink, M.D., professor and chairman of the Department of Diagnostic Radiology at Yale University School of Medicine in New Haven, Conn., and co-chairman of the joint Adult Radiation Protection Task Force cosponsored by the RSNA and the American College of Radiology (ACR); William R. Hendee, Ph.D., distinguished professor of radiology, radiation oncology, biophysics and bioethics at the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee; and Christoph Wald, M.D., Ph.D., executive vice-chairman of the Department of Radiology at Lahey Clinic in Burlington, Mass., and associate professor of radiology at Tufts University Medical School in Boston. The panel was moderated by Mary C. Mahoney, M.D., professor of radiology and director of Breast Imaging at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center and chair of the RSNA Public Information Committee.

"Medical imaging examinations are an invaluable, but complex, set of tools in the diagnosis and treatment of patients," Dr. Mahoney said. "With this panel, we hope to address recent concerns about imaging, clear up some misconceptions regarding risk, and inform the public about what's being done to ensure their safety when undergoing medical imaging exams."

The growth in medical imaging over the past two decades has yielded important and life-saving benefits to patients. Medical imaging has allowed millions of patients to avoid more invasive diagnostic and treatment procedures. However, overutilization of medical imaging examinations can be detrimental to patients by exposing them to unnecessary radiation. Between 1980 and 2006, the annual U.S. population radiation dose from medical procedures increased seven-fold, according to the National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements.

"Imaging procedures conducted for the wrong reasons contribute to unnecessary costs and radiation exposure to patients," Dr. Hendee said. "Radiology is working to reduce unnecessary procedures, but some of the causes of overutilization are beyond radiology's influence."

Recent reports have drawn attention to the ionizing radiation associated with some imaging procedures, most notably CT. There is general agreement in the radiology community that certain imaging and radiation therapy procedures are associated with risks, which in each patient's case must be weighed against the benefit of the diagnostic information or treatment result one specific procedure may provide. Radiologists and medical physicists continue to work together to improve the safety of imaging exams by lowering radiation dose without sacrificing diagnostic quality. Efforts are also under way to better monitor patients' cumulative radiation exposure from multiple imaging exams over time.

To increase awareness of cumulative radiation dose and other radiation risks and to explore opportunities to improve patient safety through appropriate utilization, quality assurance and dose optimization, RSNA has partnered with the American College of Radiology (ACR), the American Association of Physicists in Medicine (AAPM) and the American Society of Radiologic Technologists (ASRT) to launch the Image Wisely™ initiative. Much like the Image Gently initiative did for pediatric radiology, Image Wisely was developed to educate imaging professionals, referring physicians and the public on the relative benefits and risks of medical imaging.

"Rising concerns about the radiation dose associated with medical imaging have prompted vigorous responses at many levels, but perhaps the most important response has been expanded educational activities focused on radiation dose monitoring and control," Dr. Brink said. "Imaging professionals must pledge to reduce the radiation dose as much as reasonably achievable, to seek accreditation of imaging facilities with careful attention to radiation dose monitoring and control, and to participate in dose registries that will allow imaging practitioners to benchmark their dose levels with peer institutions.", directed at physicians and other medical professionals, was officially launched at RSNA 2010. The website's patient-directed content, which answers common patient questions about risks and benefits of medical imaging procedures, is available along with information on radiation exposure, contrast materials, anesthesia, radiation therapy procedures and other safety concerns on

"These websites strive to provide the most comprehensive and up-to-date information about radiation safety from expert sources to help patients and their physicians make informed decisions when considering the use of powerful imaging tests which can potentially save lives, help determine whether a therapy is working or avoid an unnecessary surgery," Dr. Wald said.

Note: Copies of RSNA 2010 news releases and electronic images will be available online at beginning Monday, Nov. 29.

RSNA is an association of more than 46,000 radiologists, radiation oncologists, medical physicists and related scientists committed to excellence in patient care through education and research. The Society is based in Oak Brook, Ill. (

For patient-friendly information on radiation safety, visit

Linda Brooks | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Medical Engineering:

nachricht Gentle sensors for diagnosing brain disorders
29.09.2016 | King Abdullah University of Science and Technology

nachricht New imaging technique in Alzheimer’s disease - opens up possibilities for new drug development
28.09.2016 | Lund University

All articles from Medical Engineering >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

Im Focus: Ultra-thin ferroelectric material for next-generation electronics

'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.

Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Resolving the mystery of preeclampsia

21.10.2016 | Health and Medicine

Stanford researchers create new special-purpose computer that may someday save us billions

21.10.2016 | Information Technology

From ancient fossils to future cars

21.10.2016 | Materials Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>