Saturday, June 2, 2012

X-Rays for Children?

The following news release from the FDA has been causing quite a stir in the media for the past few weeks. I am wondering why this topic hasn't been brought up before now? When I think of how many X-rays my children and grandchildren have had in the past, it makes me sick. So many times we just say OK when medical professionals tell us we need to have a X-ray. We need to start questioning WHY does my child, or yourself for that matter, need that X-ray or other medical tests. Sometimes I feel that the medical professionals schedule us for tests just because it makes money for their clinic or the hospital or themselves! Ask questions!


For Immediate Release: May 9, 2012
Media Inquiries: Erica Jefferson, 301-796-4988,
Consumer Inquiries: 888-INFO-FDA

FDA proposal aims to help reduce unnecessary radiation exposure for children

Today, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced that it is seeking public comment on a proposal encouraging manufacturers to consider the safety of children in the design of new X-ray imaging devices. In the draft guidance, FDA is recommending that manufacturers design new X-ray imaging devices with protocols and instructions that address use on pediatric patients.

It also proposes that manufacturers who do not adequately demonstrate that their new X-ray imaging devices are safe and effective in pediatric patients should include a label on their device that cautions against use in pediatric populations.

To help health care providers more safely use their current equipment on pediatric patients, the FDA is collaborating with the Alliance for Radiation Safety in Pediatric Imaging (ARSPI) and manufacturers, through the Medical Imaging and Technology Alliance (MITA), to develop pediatric imaging radiation safety training materials.

The FDA has also launched a pediatric X-ray imaging website that provides information on the benefits and risks of imaging using ionizing radiation, recommendations for parents and health care providers to help reduce unnecessary radiation exposure, and information for manufacturers of X-ray imaging devices.

The guidance, website, and ongoing collaborations with ARSPI and MITA are part of FDA’s Initiative to Reduce Unnecessary Radiation Exposure from Medical Imaging, launched in February 2010.

When used appropriately, X-ray imaging, such as a CT, fluoroscopy, and conventional X-ray, can provide valuable information to help with diagnosis, treatment planning, and surgical intervention in adults and children. At the same time, these types of exams expose patients to ionizing radiation, which can be of particular concern in pediatric patients.

The cancer risk per unit dose of ionizing radiation is generally higher for younger patients than adults, and younger patients have a longer lifetime for the effects of radiation exposure to manifest. Also, the use of X-ray equipment settings designed for adults can result in a larger radiation dose than necessary to produce a useful image for a smaller pediatric patient.

“The risk from a medically necessary imaging exam is quite small when compared to the benefit of accurate diagnosis or intervention. There is no reason for patients who need these exams to avoid them,” said Jeffrey Shuren, M.D., director of the FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health. “Parents should engage in a discussion with their child's physician about benefits and risks of X-ray, computed tomography (CT), and fluoroscopy exams.”

A workshop scheduled for July 16, 2012, will bring together industry, X-ray imaging equipment users (e.g., physicians, radiologic technologists, and physicists), and patient advocates to discuss FDA’s draft guidance.

For more information:
Draft Guidance: Pediatric Information for X-ray Imaging Device Premarket Notifications
Public Meeting: Device Improvements for Pediatric X-ray Imaging
Pediatric X-Ray Imaging
Initiative to Reduce Unnecessary Radiation Exposure from Medical Imaging
Medical Devices
Radiation-Emitting Products
The FDA, an agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, protects the public health by assuring the safety, effectiveness, and security of human and veterinary drugs, vaccines and other biological products for human use, and medical devices. The agency also is responsible for the safety and security of our nation’s food supply, cosmetics, dietary supplements, products that give off electronic radiation, and for regulating tobacco products.


  1. You are darn right, kids DO get too many xrays. I managed one clinic in OKC that was about 98% medicaid patients and about 80% of them were children. Every cough, every sinusitis, every aching joint got an xray, then a follow up xray about a week later. Some kids had MANY xray reports in their charts. It was a way to make money on the old per capita system.
    I worked at an urgent care clinic that did the same, only in smaller volume. However, they made money from in-house lab testing such as pregnancy tests and flu or mono screens. Well, actually both clinics did that. The doctor I see now is Steven Sackett at a Deaconess Clinic, and he is FANTASTIC. Ethical, kind and a good Christian physician with high standards and is very conservative with testing and procedures because he KNOWS they are costly to the patient, to medicare and medicaid and besides, he is such a darn good doctor that he does not need to do a lot of fluffy stuff to properly diagnose and treat patients. Dr. Robert Stepp at the same clinic is the same way. They should be cloned.

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