THERE is no longer any disagreement on the harmful nature of the biologic effects of ionizing radiations. The fact that responsible physicians continue to employ this form of energy for medical purposes is an indication of its great value in modern medical care. Properly controlled ionizing radiations, and x-rays in particular, provide benefits that greatly outweigh the potential hazards. Nevertheless, considerable emphasis is still being given to the reduction of exposure to ionizing radiations to the lowest level consistent with acceptable standards for good medical care.
Two important factors govern the benefits received from a given exposure to x-rays: the indications for the exposure, and the manner in which it is done. The indications are a matter of judgment on the part of the responsible physician and reflect, among other things, his experience with the method. It follows that a physician regularly engaged in the practice of radiology is usually in a better position to evaluate the relative merits of various types of examinations than is the physician who uses the techniques only infrequently. It is clear also that "routines" cannot substitute for judgment. The manner of employment of x-rays involves, in addition to the skill and experience of the operator, consideration of types of equipment. Leak-free tube housing, appropriate filtration, rectangular coning, shielding, modern films, screens and processing techniques are available to the occasional user of radiography as well as to the professional radiologist, and permit appreciable reduction in radiation doses.
- Copyright © 1961 by the American Academy of Pediatrics