(HealthDay News) – For obese individuals, organs deep within the abdomen may receive lower doses of radiation than the organs of normal-weight individuals, with the same scanner operating parameters.
Aiping Ding, PhD, and colleagues from the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, NY, assessed radiation exposure in five male and five female phantoms with body mass indexes ranging from normal (23.5kg/m²) to morbidly obese (46.4kg/m²). The radiation doses to organs and tissues from computed tomography imaging were calculated.
The researchers found that, for obese individuals, radiation doses to organs deep in the abdomen, such as to the colon, may be 59% lower than those of normal-weight individuals, with the same scanner operating parameters. For shallow organs, this effect was less significant. When adjusting the tube potential from 120–140kVp, the radiation dose to organs increased by 56 and 62% for organs within and outside the scan field, respectively. When the current was doubled for obese level-I, obese level-II, and morbidly-obese phantoms, there was an increase in the effective dose of 57, 42, and 23%, respectively, relative to that of the normal-weight phantom.
“This study has shown that the radiation dose to a patient can be greatly affected by his or her size and stature,” the authors conclude.