Did you know that you are exposed to more radiation flying from Detroit to Los Angeles than from a chest X-ray? CT (Computed Tomography) scans use more radiation, but CT scans also provide more diagnostic information compared to X-rays. Your doctor evaluates which test is best for your situation and can help you understand the risks and benefits.
Recently published articles have described radiation protection and the need for reduced imaging exposure. We at McLaren Central Michigan take pride when performing all diagnostic radiology services. This pride extends to the use of the ALARA (As Low As Reasonably Achievable) policies. We only use the minimum amount of radiation necessary to perform a quality diagnostic study.
Our fluoroscopic unit is designed to reduce the radiation dose by a technique called pulse fluoroscopy. It is a lot like the old movies where the frame rate is too slow. You can actually tell that it is a series of pictures placed together and fanned rapidly so the subject seems to be moving. The fewer images you make, the more you can tell they are still images. For our purposes, we try to balance the number of images with other factors to make the movie.
There is also the "store feature" which allows us to store a radiograph that has already been produced and manipulated, rather than making a completely new exposure.
In addition, our staff technologists use collimation to zoom in on an area of interest, much like a camera zooms in to see a specific detail. This limits the beam of the radiation so that only the area of interest is exposed.
In CT, our engineers have calibrated the system so that pediatric patients receive the appropriate dose, rather than giving them an adult dose. Kids are not just small adults when it comes to imaging.
Our professional staff is also monitored for excessive amounts of radiation. Just like patients, our staff uses personal protective lead gear. Our staff also wears dosimeter devices that are evaluated monthly to check for over-exposure.
McLaren Central Michigan participates in annual inspections by the State of Michigan and is governed by state and national standards. McLaren Central Michigan has also contracted with an outside radiation safety officer (RSO) who evaluates the imaging department quarterly.
We are committed to providing quality diagnostic images while protecting our patients and staff from harmful radiation. If you are a patient at McLaren Central Michigan, please make your technologist or physician aware of any concerns you have about radiation safety or any other related topic.