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Image Guided Therapy
Image Guided Therapy


Why is ionizing radiation used in some Image Guided Therapy procedures?

Although ultrasound is used as a primary tool, important anatomy, certain medical instruments and specific medical problems can only be properly visualized using fluoroscopy. In these procedures, the best treatment for your child requires a small, optimized use of ionizing radiation.

How much ionizing radiation is used in Image Guided Therapy?

The amount of radiation required for the procedure is dependent on a number of factors, including the purpose of the intervention, size of your child, and how complex the case is. The quantity known as effective dose is often used to compare radiation risk between different imaging examinations and types of exposures. Effective dose is reported in units of milliSieverts (mSv), and ranges from 0 to 10 mSv for the majority of diagnostic procedures performed in IGT with most being less than 3 mSv. For comparison, natural background radiation in Canada (from sources such as the ground, food, and cosmic rays) delivers approximately 2 mSv effective dose per year.

Why do the reported doses vary so much?

This is due to the variability in procedure types performed in IGT, and the large range in patient size (from newborns to large teenagers). Many cases require no ionizing radiation, some are completed with only a few fluoroscopic images, while a very small number are complicated, lengthy procedures for very ill children or complex problems.

Is ionizing radiation dangerous?

Numerous international organizations (International Commission on Radiation Protection, the National Council on Radiation Protection & Measurements, American Association of Physicists in Medicine, United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation) caution that cancer risks cannot be estimated at low doses (effective doses less than 100 mSv). There is currently no definitive epidemiological evidence of increased cancer incidence or mortality at these dose levels.

Is the benefit of the procedure worth the theoretical radiation risk?

For all appropriate imaging procedures, the immediate medical benefit far outweighs any theoretical future risk. Your doctor can best explain to you why the procedure is necessary.

Are you making efforts to reduce radiation dose?

For many years, Image Guided Therapy has strived to ensure that a low, appropriate amount of fluoroscopy is used. Considerable effort has been taken with respect to the state-of-the-art medical equipment, implementing techniques to reduce dose and study time, improving doctor and technologist training, and to actively monitor the radiation throughout each procedure. For each and every child, we use the lowest dose consistent with the objectives of the intervention. We also strive to ensure that the medical benefits outweigh any potential future risk.

Should I be concerned that children are more sensitive to ionizing radiation?

Image Guided Therapy is acutely aware that certain tissues are more radiosensitive in children. As a result, we ensure that the radiation doses are lower for our paediatric patients than for representative adults.

What is the Image Gently Campaign?

Image Gently is an awareness campaign developed through the Society of Pediatric Radiology. Its mission is, through advocacy, to improve safe and effective imaging care of children worldwide. Members of IGT are active participants to the campaign and support its dedication to provide safe, high quality pediatric imaging.