Computed tomography (CT) scans are widely used by doctors to assist in the diagnoses of fractured bones, cancer, internal bleeding, and more. The procedure provides a far more detailed image to that obtained by standard X-ray, but also exposes patients to a much higher dose of radiation. While the dose from one scan is unlikely to do harm, cumulative DNA damage from repeated scans over a lifetime could increase cancer risk. Consequently, there is concern, particularly for children, about CT safety. Now, scientists in New York have shown they can diagnose joint fractures just as effectively using one-fourteenth the radiation dose of conventional CT. The images show similar knee fractures diagnosed with the ultra-low dose radiation CT scan (left) and with a regular CT scan (right). This successful application of the low-dose scans to joint fractures now paves the way for testing the procedure for use in other conditions.
Written by Ruth Williams
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