Health

Medical imaging

Ionising radiation is used in different types of medical imaging such as X-rays. These pass through the body and thus produce a sharp image of solid body parts,  i.e. bones.

To execute a mammography a physician uses soft X-rays to study the differences between fat and glandular tissue. Bone densitometry also involves low dose ionising radiation. During the examination an X-ray the size of a needle passes across the body. The apparatus measures how much radiation passes through the bone and is able to define the exact bone calcium content.

SCK•CEN studies the long term health effects of these low dose radiation imaging techniques. The resulting findings and recommendations ensure better protection for both patient and medical personnel. The developed models and control techniques enable radiation doses to be kept as low as possible.

Premature babies

During their first few months of life premature babies are subjected to many medical examinations, including lung x-rays. Babies are exceptionally sensitive to radiation, which means that the dose must be kept to a minimum.

The same applies to unborn babies and hence examinations involving pregnant women.

More info: Optimizing medical radiation doses

Medical applications