How much is too much radiation in medical imaging?

As imaging scans before widely more available and affordable, more Americans are getting more tests than they used to – currently totaling to more than 85 million CT scans each year, according to an article published Oct. 1 by The Washington Post.  

But how much is too much radiation?  

“There’s no formula for answering that, experts say, in part because the health effects of radiation don’t add up in a linear way,” according to the article.  

“While massive doses of radiation are known to be harmful, the small doses used in routine tests are usually safe, especially compared with other health-care choices people make without thinking twice.”  

Russ Ritenour, PhD, a medical physicist at the Medical University of South Carolina told The Post that there is “no absolute number of scans that constitute a tipping point for health” because the body can fix cells damaged by radiation and “damage doesn’t accumulate like water poured into a glass.” Ritenour added that 10 mammograms in one day would be riskier than one mammogram a year for ten years, according to the article.  

Read The Washington Post’s entire article below.