Radiation Safety has become a major topic of discussion in the field of medical imaging. The safe and responsible use of diagnostic medical imaging is a passion for the physicians as well as the technologists at Windsong.
Windsong has always prided itself on being on the forefront of advancements in diagnostic radiology. We have brought innovative and lifesaving procedures such as stereotactic core biopsy, PET/CT, and breast MRI to the patients of Western NY. In 2011, emerging technologies such as prostate MRI and breast Tomosynthesis have been implemented by the practice.
Windsong continues to integrate new technologies into the way we deliver quality care to our patients. We maintain our unwavering commitment to their safety while they undergo their imaging procedure. We have had a “Radiation Safety Awareness” program in place for many years. A team of radiologists, medical physicists, and CT technologists in consultation with the equipment vendors meet on a quarterly basis to discuss how we can obtain diagnostic quality scans at the lowest possible radiation dose.
Experts within the radiology and medical physics community know that x-ray producing equipment, such as CT scanners, do not report radiation dose values to individual patients, but instead report the “CT Dose Index” (CTDI) and related parameters. CTDI is not patient dose, because it does not take into account the patient’s body habitus, and other technical factors needed to estimate patient dose. CTDI is a useful quantity, but it is not the dose that the patient receives.
There is a multitude of ways of to estimate “effective dose”, usually expressed in milliSieverts (mSv). Effective dose is one way to compare the risk to people from partial body exposure to radiation (such as a head CT scan), with the large amount of scientific data from whole body exposure received by the atomic bomb survivors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. There is no scientific data that provides a cumulative dose threshold for which additional medical imaging is unsafe. Consideration for diagnostic imaging should always be done on a risk/benefit analysis for each patient. For example, the benefits of CT scans being performed as part of an active surveillance program monitoring an elderly woman with breast cancer would clearly outweigh the potential risk of radiation over-exposure.
At Windsong, we have recently added the Radimetrics Company to our “Radiation Safety Awareness” team. Their sophisticated software programs allow us to monitor and analyze CT scan radiation exposure at all of our sites and estimate doses to critical organs based on patient body habitus, track dose histories for our patients, and estimate Effective Dose. With this technical data, our medical physicists will also be able to suggest ways to minimize dose without compromising image quality. We decided to add this new tool for dose management at Windsong because of our commitment to the responsible use of radiation for imaging your patients.
Our innovative “Radiation Safety Awareness” program will continue to assess and implement protocol changes. We will continue to tailor the exam for the individual patient in order to optimize diagnostic outcome and mitigate radiation exposure. The Fellowship Trained Radiologists at Windsong work side-by-side with our highly trained and very skilled CT and X-ray technologist to insure the lowest possible radiation dose delivered for each diamgnostic imaging study.