Nuclear Medicine Patient Issues
What's My Risk?
The risks of health effects from radiation doses received during nuclear medicine procedures are either too small to be observed or are nonexistent. The benefits from properly performed clinically indicated nuclear medicine procedures far outweigh any hypothetical cancer risk. Diagnostic nuclear medicine procedures provide a medical benefit to you even if they do not appear to reveal anything and are of less risk than their alternatives, such as exploratory surgery.
Even if the result of the imaging exam was negative, the physicians were provided information they could use to determine the next course of action. Refusing medical imaging procedures may result in real and substantial risk by not receiving the clinical benefits of the procedures.
Because the Health Physics Society recommends against quantitative estimates of health risks for radiation doses below 100 mSv, we will not calculate hypothetical risks for diagnostic imaging procedures. The Society's position statement "Radiation Risk in Perspective" explains in more detail why it is inappropriate to estimate health risks at these doses. Some risk information is available from www.radiationanswers.org.
What's My Dose?
If you want to know the specific dose you or a family member may have received for a particular exam you underwent, you need to contact your health care provider and ask for the effective dose due to the procedures. Typical doses from many diagnostic imaging procedures are posted on our website.
The following FAQs have been developed by our topic editors for this category:
|Nuclear Medicine—Diagnostic Procedures|
The following HPS Web pages also address this category:
|Benefits of Medical Radiation Exposures|
|Doses from Medical Radiation Sources|
|Radiation Exposure from Medical Exams and Procedures|
The following health physics questions have been answered by an expert and approved by our editors for inclusion in our "Ask the Experts" feature. Click on the question to see the answer.
The following websites may also be useful:
|About Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging – The Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging|
|Nuclear Medicine – Health Physics Society "Radiation Answers"|