Posts tagged ‘safety’

October 9, 2014

MRI: Not If You’re the Tin Man

Tin Woodman by William Wallace Denslow via Wikimedia Commons Copyright Public DomainWhat are the risks of an MRI?

The main risks of MRI come from the fact that the machine is made up of a giant magnet – which is never turned off.

 

Safety for MRI studies relies on removing any metal on your body and fully understanding the impact of any metal within your body. Many types of metal implants, like joint replacements, are not a problem and patients with them can safely undergo MRI.

 

Some battery operated implants, like most pacemakers and many neurostimulators, can be adversely affected when exposed to the magnet. The safety of any implanted surgical device or metal should be thoroughly discussed before the exam – preferably at the time of scheduling.

 

On the day of the procedure, removing all metal (all hairpins included!) prior to entering the MRI suite is important for the safety of you, the technologist and the machine. No metal in clothing, no metal in pockets, no watches or phones!

 

The other main risk of MRI comes from those studies that require the injection of IV contrast. This allows us to evaluate blood vessels and the vascularity of organs and masses. This contrast contains gadolinium which is a heavy metal. Allergies or reactions can occur, although rarely. Gadolinium contrast materials should be used with caution in those at risk for kidney disease. You will be screened for the possibility of kidney disease, and your kidney function may be evaluated with a simple blood test before we give you the contrast if you have risk factors.

 

MRI is an amazing technology but requires strict safety precautions for everyone. We’ll be writing more about MRIs and the claustrophobic patient in our next post – stay tuned!

(Image credit: Tin Woodman by William Wallace Denslow via Wikimedia Commons Copyright Public Domain)

Diagnostic Imaging Centers blogs on regularly about women’s health at www.mammographykc.com and general radiology at www.diagnosticimagingcenterskc.com. Visit our sites for more helpful information!

 

April 3, 2014

Brain Boost: Kids and Screens

Computer by yoshimov via Flickr Copyright Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Computer by yoshimov via Flickr Copyright Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Bringing children into the world brings organized chaos to your life. There are things they do on a regular basis, like eat and sleep – and things we cannot regulate at all, like moods, personalities and learning curves. There is one certainty – they will keep growing and changing, especially when you think you’ve figured them out.

 

As parents, we struggle to manage the unmanageable. We try to get them to go to bed at a certain hour, we try to get them to eat at dinner time and we try to get them to want healthy foods.

 

In the middle of all that trying comes another interruption to their cycles: technology. It entertains the cranky, exercises the brain and distracts, separating the user from the world outside the screen. It’s a gift and a burden.

 

Recently, the Washington Post wrote an excellent article on kids and screentime. In short, just as we carefully monitor their diets for a balance of good food and the occasional treat, absorption of a healthy media diet is in order too.

 

It doesn’t take a scientific study to know that there are times to turn off the television and go get some playful exercise outdoors (but there are many). But as iPads have turned into flipbooks for three year olds and texting is more than just a game to many teenagers, it can become hard to judge just how much time spent on these devices is time well spent.

 

The American Academy of Pediatrics has some great guidelines they’ve researched when it comes to the media intake of children. When it comes to hard facts and numbers, here’s what we learned from writer Kendall Powell:

 

Develop a family media plan and stick to it!

 

●Enforce consistent rules about screen time from the start.

●Keep all screens and Internet out of the bedroom.

●Impose meal time restrictions and bedtime curfews for everyone’s devices (yours too!).

●Watch or explore media content with children.

 

While wrangling the chaos of a household is hard (to put it mildly), managing a little more of what goes into the heads and hands of little ones can produce happier, healthier children. And that’s an effort well worth making.

 

 

Diagnostic Imaging Centers blogs on regularly about women’s health at www.mammographykc.com and general radiology at www.diagnosticimagingcenterskc.com. Visit our sites for more helpful information!

March 18, 2014

Radiation Risk Management

Everyone is exposed to radiation in daily life. It’s a part of living on our planet. As radiologists, we are schooled in managing radiation in the imaging of patients.

There are many indications for the use of imaging studies using radiation to image the body – from finding fractures to finding cancers. Your referring clinician and your radiologist constantly weigh the pluses/minuses of using radiation in order to answer a clinical question. There are imaging techniques such as ultrasound and MRI which do NOT use radiation. As radiologists, one of our jobs after it has been determined that an imaging test is necessary is to make sure the radiation dose is appropriate – using the least possible dose to answer the question.

Radiation Exposure Is Measured and Focused

The pioneers of radiology faced the dangers of radiation without knowledge of its strength – many of those pioneers died from the effects of the radiation on their bodies . As the field of study evolved, radiation was over-used to treat benign conditions, like acne… and even initially for non-medical things like shoe-sizing (no kidding). The negative effects of large doses of radiation were soon recognized, and management of radiation dose is an integral part of the training of today’s radiologists and radiology technologists.

Radiologists regularly work with physicists to assess and address dose. Together, we wrote this: What Does Radiation Safety Mean to DIC?

Exposure Doesn’t Always Mean Cancer Risk Increase

Modern techniques focus on limiting radiation to the area being examined and using the lowest dose possible to get the images needed to make the diagnosis. These principles govern our use of radiation in imaging. For almost all, imaging tests and the radiation from them will NOT have a detrimental effect. The risk of developing cancer from radiation related to medical imaging is theoretic – and most of the information has been extrapolated or guessed at from dose and information related to survivors of the atomic bombs.

Radiation Therapy Is a Different Story

Radiation therapy to the body to treat malignancies is a different story – here larger doses of radiation are being used to destroy a cancer -and save a life. Radiation oncologists make every effort to limit the field of radiation to the area of cancer, sparing adjacent tissues whenever possible.  Some sensitive tissues may be in the field of view. For example, if the breasts are in the field of radiation, there may be an increase in the risk for breast cancer. This is why patients with Hodgkin’s lymphoma with treatment with radiation to the chest are recommended to screen with breast MRI 10 years after completion of radiation therapy. This will supplement mammographic screening (starting at the usual age) in these patients. Other sensitive tissues and the risks of radiation therapy to them should be discussed with your physician and radiation oncologist.

In summary, radiation is never used lightly. As radiologists, we work carefully with a dedicated team and look at the big picture of your overall good health. Your best possible health is our number one priority.

September 26, 2013

How does a CT scan work? with Dr. Scott Sher