Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Lessening the dangers of radiation: Ultrasound as effective as CT scans for most diagnoses, research finds

Date:
May 11, 2011
Source:
American Friends of Tel Aviv University
Summary:
A new study exploring the efficacy of expensive and invasive CT scans has found that, in many cases, they don't offer a clinical advantage over a simple, inexpensive ultrasound procedure.

For diagnosing head and neck ailments, tests that use radiation are always less desirable than those that don't. Otolaryngologists have a wide range of techniques available to them, including CT or "CAT" scans, MRI and ultrasound. CT uses significant radiation and MRI a lower amount, but ultrasound is a non-invasive, non-radiating technique. It does not require injection of radioactive contrast material and has no side effects.

Now, a new study by Tel Aviv University exploring the efficacy of expensive and invasive CT scans has found that, in some cases, they don't offer a clinical advantage over a simple, inexpensive ultrasound procedure.

In his study, Dr. Michael Vaiman of Tel Aviv University's Sackler Faculty of Medicine compared the efficacy of CT versus ultrasound scans for locating vertebral arteries in the throat, an important assessment that must be completed before a surgeon operates in the neck area of the body. After comparing the outcomes of 250 CT scans with 500 ultrasound images, he concluded that there is no advantage to using CT scans for most of these procedures, especially those that are used to locate anomalies in the neck to map major arteries before surgery can take place.

Dr. Vaiman's results were published in the March issue of the European Archives of Oto-Rhino-Laryngology.

When scans are sound

CT scans combine X-rays with highly sophisticated computers to produce a number of pictures of the interior of the body. Traditionally, doctors have relied on these scans to find neck arteries and assess neck tumors, enlarged lympatic nodules, diseases of the salivary glands, different kinds of bronchial cysts, or the development of thyroid cancer.

Although ultrasound is not the investigation of choice for every neck pathology, it is adequate for diagnosis and assessment of treatment options for most of these conditions. Ultrasound can not only locate a lesion, it can provide information about its size, consistency, and relation to other organs, as well as other features.

"I would recommend the use of ultrasound scans, and not radiating CT scans, for most procedures," Dr. Vaiman says. "I would especially recommend ultrasound when children are investigated. There are some tumors that do require CT or MRI investigation, but these cases are rare. When in doubt, and high-resolution imaging is necessary, I would suggest a low-radiating MRI."

His findings follow warnings from international health organizations about the dangers of overexposure to CT-related radiation. Some medical experts caution that patients are exposed to too many CT scans, and the results could be harmful to their health. Excessive radiation can itself lead to cancerous growths, for example.

A less dangerous path

Although Dr. Vaiman's study focused on the relationship of arteries in the neck, he believes that most CT scans of other organs may also be unnecessary and would best be done using ultrasound. It is cheap, readily available and, over time, less dangerous than CT scanning.

"Preoperative ultrasound investigation allows a very precise identification of abnormal vertebral arteries," he reports. "I believe that radiation-free ultrasound investigation of blood vessels is as precise as CT 3D imaging, and should be used as an alternative in most cases."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Friends of Tel Aviv University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Michael Vaiman, Inessa Beckerman, Ephraim Eviatar. Detection of anomalous vertebral arteries by ultrasound as an alternative to radiological methods. European Archives of Oto-Rhino-Laryngology, 2011; DOI: 10.1007/s00405-011-1549-3

Cite This Page:

American Friends of Tel Aviv University. "Lessening the dangers of radiation: Ultrasound as effective as CT scans for most diagnoses, research finds." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 11 May 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/05/110511101151.htm>.
American Friends of Tel Aviv University. (2011, May 11). Lessening the dangers of radiation: Ultrasound as effective as CT scans for most diagnoses, research finds. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 29, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/05/110511101151.htm
American Friends of Tel Aviv University. "Lessening the dangers of radiation: Ultrasound as effective as CT scans for most diagnoses, research finds." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/05/110511101151.htm (accessed July 29, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Deadly Ebola Virus Threatens West Africa

Deadly Ebola Virus Threatens West Africa

AP (July 28, 2014) West African nations and international health organizations are working to contain the largest Ebola outbreak in history. It's one of the deadliest diseases known to man, but the CDC says it's unlikely to spread in the U.S. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
$15B Deal on Vets' Health Care Reached

$15B Deal on Vets' Health Care Reached

AP (July 28, 2014) A bipartisan deal to improve veterans health care would authorize at least $15 billion in emergency spending to fix a veterans program scandalized by long patient wait times and falsified records. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Two Americans Contract Ebola in Liberia

Two Americans Contract Ebola in Liberia

Reuters - US Online Video (July 28, 2014) Two American aid workers in Liberia test positive for Ebola while working to combat the deadliest outbreak of the virus ever. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

AP (July 28, 2014) Classes are being offered nationwide to encourage African Americans to learn about cooking fresh foods based on traditional African cuisine. The program is trying to combat obesity, heart disease and other ailments often linked to diet. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins