Radiation risk: Unnecessary X-ray examinations should be avoided

Radiation risk: Unnecessary X-ray examinations should be avoided

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Experts advise avoiding unnecessary X-ray applications

Again and again, experts point out that the health risks from X-rays should not be underestimated. After all, such examinations are associated with a radiation risk. Often, other methods can help with the diagnosis.

X-ray passport no longer has to be provided

Since the turn of the year, medical practices and clinics have no longer been legally obliged to provide patients with an X-ray passport and to enter X-ray examinations in it. The Federal Office for Radiation Protection (BfS) still advises to keep records of radiation diagnostic tests received. In addition to X-ray, this also includes nuclear medicine applications. The experts also recommend that you obtain information about processes that do not use X-rays or radioactive substances. This includes ultrasound diagnostics and MRI (magnetic resonance imaging).

Avoid unnecessary repeat examinations

"We assume that every X-ray examination is associated with a certain - albeit low - radiation risk," said BfS President Inge Paulini.

"For the purposes of precautionary radiation protection, any unnecessary X-ray examination should therefore be avoided," said the expert.

"The BfS recommends that patients keep a document in which doctor's practices and clinics voluntarily enter X-ray and nuclear medicine examinations," said Paulini.

"This allows a comparison to be made with previous recordings and an unnecessary repeat examination to be avoided."

Every German is X-rayed on average 1.7 times a year

According to the information, medical applications of ionizing radiation make a significant contribution to the artificial radiation exposure of the population.

Around 135 million X-ray examinations are performed in Germany every year, meaning that every German citizen is X-rayed 1.7 times a year.

The resulting radiation exposure is around 1.6 millisievert, according to the BfS.

For comparison: the average natural radiation exposure to which a person is exposed in Germany every year is 2.1 millisievert.

Benefit must be greater than risk

A radiological diagnostic application should only be carried out if all the findings so far have been carefully evaluated and it is clear that this X-ray or nuclear medical examination represents an added value.

This results from the legally prescribed so-called justifying indication: According to this, a radiation diagnostic measure is only justified if the patient benefits from the examination that must be greater than the risk.

Even if the X-ray passport is no longer legally required, the BfS provides a downloadable document on its website that can continue to be used for personal documentation. (ad)

Author and source information

Video: X-ray easily explained: 9. X-ray safety. X-ray dose reduction (October 2022).