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Thread: Digital X-rays for adults and breast shields

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2012

    Digital X-rays for adults and breast shields

    I am trying to get evaluated for pain and flatback following surgery several years ago. But the managed care system I'm in insisted on sending me to a spinal neurosurgeon instead of an orthopedic spinal surgeon. I went to him with a full spinal MRI, which he said was useless. Instead, he is insisting on a full spinal X-ray and he will not proceed with any treatment or referral until I do this. However, after speaking to the manager of the X-ray dept, I am told they do not have a breast shield for me to wear! I had 25 plus full spinal X-rays in my childhood and because of this I'm now trying to be super careful. Does anyone know how important/necessary breast shields are for adults with the new digital X-ray machines? I did tell the manager that I wanted to face away from the machine and I don't even know if they will let me do this. And no, the managed care will not let me go anywhere else for the X-ray.
    Last edited by moonglow; 10-12-2014 at 04:07 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2012
    El Centro, CA & Baja California, Mexico

    Someone should listen

    Most specialists want to see things from different angles and xrays taken today not years ago. I was told by a 'uppity Fellow' at Dr Bridwell's practice that it is the nerurosurgeons that operates on the spine much more often than the orthopedic spine surgeon. Fortunately, I had both in my operating room.

    Your concern is a personal concern. I don't understand why someone with knowledge can't sit down with you for 15 minutes to explain to you as a patient with a brain that it will be harmless or not.

    Xray manager is saying that they don't have a shield because it is not needed? or just they are violating the precaution of using one? which I don't think they would set themselves to such simple error for a lawsuit.

    Go get some reading on the web, maybe the doctor does know what he is saying so you either have to trust or go thru feeling you have no other choice.

    Dr Bridwell sent me to many xrays and mri's within his same floor lab. He even criticized many taken that were done incorrectly thus useless. However, I don't recall ever wearing a shield.

    I doubt everything until mentally I am assure it is correct. Even medication given, I have to know why and what for. You are the only one that cares and know well about your health and body.

    good luck, hope it helps.
    Baja California, Mexico & El Centro, Ca
    pre-surgery 75 and 89 - post ?
    Dr. Bridwell Nov 27, 2012 @Barnes Jewish @62yrs
    T11 to Sacrum Dural leak at L2 & L3

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    I was told by the head of the pediatric department at my hospital that todays x-rays are worth about one day in the sun without sunscreen. He was upset when my grandson had to have a repeat x-ray because they positioned him wrong the first time.

    I was told by a chiropractor that you get more x-ray exposure from riding on a commercial airliner than you do from an x-ray.

    I was offered a breast shield for my last x-ray (I've never been shielded before in the last 28 years that I've been having x-rays). Unfortunately, the shield hung so low that it was at my waist! Needless to say, I told them to forget the shield since I had never been shielded before.

    There is a thread on here somewhere where Dr. Kevin McIntire broke down the amount of radiation received for different procedures. I can't remember what the thread was entitled, but you could search for it if you like.

    I'm just telling you this information because this is my own experience with x-rays. I did have to have a breast biopsy two years ago for a suspicious area on my breast. In my case it wasn't for a lump but had to do with a milk duct calcification. I don't know what kind of cancer x-ray radiation puts us at risk for (maybe any kind), but don't feel that this incident was related to my many x-rays over the years.

    It's a personal decision whether or not to be shielded every time. I personally look at it this way; the radiation is going through our bodies including all of our other organs such as our hearts and lungs, etc. Are we at risk for bone, lung, thyroid, brain or any other kind of cancer? Maybe. Unfortunately, this is a bad side effect of having stupid scoliosis to begin with. X-rays over the years can't be good for ANY part of our bodies. The technologists hide behind lead walls because they do these many times a day every day that they work. If they are hiding behind lead walls, that's because the radiation is flying all around the room. So if it's going through our body, what prevents it from bouncing around to other parts even if they are shielded? I joke around about being "glow-in-the-dark" from all of the radiation exposure that I've had, but it really isn't funny. It's how I deal with my own fear. Lots of people get cancer for unknown reasons. It's horrible to dwell on the "maybe", so I try not to.

    I know shielding is better if it's available. You just have to weigh the pros and cons of having this x-ray. Since it seems very important to you, are you able to have the x-ray done at a different facility that will shield you? I hope you get it figured out and wish you the best.
    Be happy!
    We don't know what tomorrow brings,
    but we are alive today!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Indianapolis area
    I asked for the shield and was told they won't do it because they need to see the whole spine and rib cage.

    Also, my local doc said studies have not shown an increased cancer incidence for scoliosis patients. I never checked myself, though.
    age 44
    80* thoracolumbar; 40* thoracic
    Reduced to ~16* thoracolumbar; ~0* thoracic
    Surgery 3/14/12 with Dr. Lenke, T4 to S1 with pelvic fixation
    Not "confused" anymore, but don't know how to change my username.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Northern California
    At UCSF, we use breast shields, and low dose radiation.

    With that said, it is very important that the surgeon be able to see full spine xrays, and it doesn't really surprise me that the surgeon isn't interested in talking to you without them.

    Never argue with an idiot. They always drag you down to their level, and then they beat you with experience. --Twain
    Surgery 2/10/93 A/P fusion T4-L3
    Surgery 1/20/11 A/P fusion L2-sacrum w/pelvic fixation

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