Peer Reviewed
Sports medicine

Diagnostic imaging: radiation exposure and safety considerations

Tom Cross
Despite the overall health benefits to patients from advances in medical imaging, the small and theoretical risk of a detriment to health from exposure to diagnostic ionising radiation should be appreciated.
Key Points

    Doctors have a number of investigations available to them to help diagnose suspected injuries in sports medicine. Many of these involve ionising radiation (conventional radiography, CT scanning, bone scanning), whereas others do not (MRI, ultrasound). One of the dictums of medical practice is Primum non nocere (First, do no harm). Exposure to diagnostic ionising radiation, like other medical tests and procedures, is associated with a risk to the patient. In this case, there is a potential risk, albeit small, of a radiation-induced cancer and/or a genetic disorder in one’s offspring.

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