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A New Approach Reduces Radiation Exposure During CT-guided Biopsy

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Digital radiography news A new approach is now using parameters to reduce radiation exposure during the critical life-saving CT-guided biopsy of lung nodules. The new approach aims to reduce the total radiation dose delivered to the patients.

The new parameters for CT-guided biopsies of lung nodules ensure that patients receive the advantages of the procedure without being subjected to high radiation doses. The biopsy procedure helps in reducing the mortalities caused by lung cancer. More details about the new approach were highlighted at the Society of Interventional Radiology's 37th Annual Scientific Meeting. The latter took place recently in San Francisco, Calif.

Jeremy Collins, M.D., assistant professor of radiology at Northwestern University in Chicago, Ill., spoke about the new approach. He said "The published early results of a trial using computed tomography to detect lung nodules demonstrated that screening with low-dose CT reduced mortality from lung cancer by 20 percent compared to screening with chest X-rays alone,"

Dr. Collins added "Statistically, many people who undergo screening will have nodules detected with CT and a biopsy may be recommended. We want to minimize the side effects of the biopsy procedure,"

There is a continuous debate between medical professionals regarding the risk of radiation exposure. A center point in this debate is the risk of cumulative exposure resulting from certain types of medical imaging, such as CT. Although CT is accompanied with high radiation exposure, the technique is considered the best of detection of lung nodules.  Dr. Collins said "Lung nodules are clearly imaged using CT because of the high contrast between normal air-containing lung tissue and higher-density lung nodules. CT technologies have come a long way in offering new tools that reduce the per-procedure radiation dose,"

The new approach has modified CT imaging parameters to reduce radiation delivered to the patients, without affecting the quality of the images. The approach reduces the amount of energy the CT scanner utilizes to generate images. The approach also modifies the current of the X-ray tube so it uses smaller dose during imaging. Dr. Collins explained "All image studies using X-ray technology are going to be associated with a small amount of finite radiation exposure,"

He added  "Although the jury is still out to some degree, there is general consensus in the community that the radiation dose risk is both linear and additive. Any place where we can reduce the incremental dose for each imaging study is very important because the overall exposure over time can be substantial,"

Dr. Collins continued "We found that simple modifications to the CT technique used for guidance to perform lung biopsies resulted in a significant dose reduction to individuals treated," adding "This was possible while maintaining appropriate image quality for interventional radiologists performing biopsy, and fortunately the modification to the scanner technique is simple and can be applied to any existing CT scanner system,"

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