FDA NEWS RELEASE
For Immediate Release: Feb. 9, 2010
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FDA Unveils Initiative to Reduce Unnecessary Radiation Exposure from Medical Imaging
Initiative to focus on 3 types of procedures with high radiation doses
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today announced an initiative to reduce unnecessary radiation exposure from three types of medical imaging procedures: computed tomography (CT), nuclear medicine studies, and fluoroscopy. These procedures are the greatest contributors to total radiation exposure within the U.S. population and use much higher radiation doses than other radiographic procedures, such as standard X-rays, dental X-rays, and mammography.
CT, nuclear medicine, and fluoroscopic imaging have led to early diagnosis of disease, improved treatment planning, and image-guided therapies that help save lives every day. The FDA continues to support a strong dialogue between patients and physicians over the medical necessity and risk associated with these types of imaging studies.
However, like all medical procedures, CT, nuclear medicine, and fluoroscopy pose risks. These types of imaging exams expose patients to ionizing radiation, a type of radiation that can increase a person’s lifetime cancer risk. Accidental exposure to very high amounts of radiation also can cause injuries, such as skin burns, hair loss and cataracts. Health care decisions made by patients and their physicians should include discussions of the medical need and associated risks for each procedure.
“The amount of radiation Americans are exposed to from medical imaging has dramatically increased over the past 20 years,” said Jeffrey Shuren, M.D., J.D., director of the FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health. “The goal of FDA’s initiative is to support the benefits associated with medical imaging while minimizing the risks.”