Risks of exposure to X-rays in patients undergoing long-term treatment for scoliosis

J Bone Joint Surg Am. 1979 Apr;61(3):371-4.


Thirteen healthy teenage girls with idiopathic adolescent scoliosis were studied using multiple thermoluminescent dosimeters while undergoing standard diagnostic roentgenograms. Average organ doses for each anteroposterior and lateral examination were calculated for bone marrow, gastrointestinal tract, lungs, breast tissue, and gonads. Given an average of twenty-two roentgenograms over a three-year Milwaukee brace-treatment program, the increase in organ carcinogenic risk due to x-ray radiation ranged from 3.4 to fifteen per million (1.3 per cent to 7.5 per cent), except for breast tissue which increased from 140 to 290 per million (110 per cent). Using posteroanterior rather than anteroposterior exposures reduced the increased risk to 5.3 per million (3.8 per cent). The genetic risks of scoliosis roentgenographic studies were considered to be negligible, especially with gonadal shielding and infrequent roentgenograms made every three to four months. Good technique and judicious ordering of roentgenograms added significantly to the safety of the patient.

MeSH terms

  • Bone Marrow / radiation effects
  • Breast / radiation effects
  • Digestive System / radiation effects
  • Female
  • Gonads / radiation effects
  • Humans
  • Lung / radiation effects
  • Radiation Dosage
  • Radiation Genetics
  • Radiation Protection*
  • Radiography / adverse effects*
  • Scoliosis / diagnostic imaging*
  • Scoliosis / therapy
  • Technology, Radiologic
  • Thermoluminescent Dosimetry
  • Time Factors