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A 39-year-old male asked:

Do nuclear scans expose a patient to more radiation than an x-ray or ct scan?

3 doctor answers4 doctors weighed in
Dr. Brian Wosnitzer
Nuclear Medicine 19 years experience
Depends..: It depends on what type of nuclear study you are having done. There are many different radiotracers and each has a different half life and different decay mode. For ct scan, it depends on how much of the body is scanned and what the settings on the scanner are. Is it a ct of the chest? Ct of the chest, abdomen, and pelvis?
Dr. Peter Nefcy
Radiology 40 years experience
Estimates: On the average, a Nuclear scan exposes a patient to slightly more radiation than a chest x-ray, and less than a CT scan. The patient's exposure from all these is usually quite small, unless the patient is having multiple repeated scans over time. Doctors work hard to keep medical exposure to radiation as low as possible while still treating the patient.
Dr. Gerald Mandell
Nuclear Medicine 53 years experience
Not usually: Depends on nuclear study. A lot of CT exams such as chest and abdomen have more radiation dose than most nuclear medicine studies. A bone scan is more dose than the CT of brain. In any event if study is necessary for diagnosis to help patient the dose becomes insignificant.
Last updated Mar 12, 2020


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