The role of the medical physicist in managing radiation dose and communicating risk in CT

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

8 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE. This article discusses the discrepancy between the public's perception of radiation risk and the actual risks from low doses of ionizing radiation. Resources from the medical physics community that can be used to manage dose levels in CT examinations are reviewed. An approach is described for presenting information about radiation risks and benefits to patients that supports dose management and acknowledges that risks from the low doses of radiation used in medical imaging either are too low to be reliably detected or do not exist. CONCLUSION. When asked by a patient or a patient's family about the risk of radiation, it is incumbent on each of us to remember the tenet of justification first and foremost: If the examination is needed, the benefit will outweigh any small or potentially nonexistent risk. The next responsibility is to image the patient with care by adjusting the delivered dose to the patient size and to the diagnostic task.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1241-1244
Number of pages4
JournalAmerican Journal of Roentgenology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2016



  • CT
  • Dose management
  • Medical physics
  • Radiation risk

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging

Cite this