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Dr. Chip
Dr. Chip, Doctor (MD)
Category: Health
Satisfied Customers: 26383
Experience:  Over 20 yrs of Family Practice
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Question about excessive/dangerous radiation exposure: I

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Question about excessive/dangerous radiation exposure:

I have had health issues this year and have had lots of tests done. Until this year the only x-rays I've had have been my annual mammogram for the last 11 years and annual dental x-rays.

But this year... in addition.... I have had lower GI x-ray, upper GI x-ray with barium swallow material, and hida scan of gallbladder with iv injection (I understand that stuff is radioactive).

I had my gallbladder out 2 months ago, but am still experiencing a nagging, burning pain in my right rib cage- comes and goes. Gastro. Dr. said he believes this pain is neurological.
Have had 2 other issues with ribs in the past--- 3 years ago suffered sharp stabbing pains in ribs for about a week-- went away. 2 years ago--- had severe muscle spasms in right rib cage along with flu like body aches-- no fever -- lasted a week or more. Gradually got better. Now ... just this hot, burning sensation that comes and goes- sometimes "stinging" quick zings of pain- like a bee sting and then it's gone.

Neurologist gave me Lidoderm patches to use - these do help but pain always comes back. Temporary relief is all this has done. I do not take the neurotin that he prescribed because the possible side effects seem worse than the rib pain. Now the neurologist wants to do a CT scan of chest with no contrast to look at ribs and lungs, etc. He says -- "process of elimination."

I'm scared to have this done since I have had so much radiation this year and I understand CT scan is heavy on the radiation.

Should I be concerned about my radiation exposure and request a different test to look at my ribs and lungs? If so-- what kind of test?
Hi--I understand your concern here but so far you've had about the same amount of total radiation as perhaps a total of seven days of sun exposure so nothing dangerous there. An MRI of the chest will be just as fine as a ct scan and MRI's involve absolutely no radiation
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

My neuro. didn't want to do MRI of chest- said it really wouldn't show enough. He has done MRI of head, neck and t-spine. Should I insist on MRI of chest to avoid the radiation? How high is the radiation with CT scan? What would you do if you had been exposed to what I have this year -- CT scan or not?

The radiation from one ct scan is about the same as 10 minutes of exposure to the sun and really you haven't been exposed to what I would consider a dangerous amount of radiation here. I really don't think you need the chest/lung study but have the neurologist talk to a radiologist since I'm sure the radiologist will agree an MRI would be fine in your case
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

If a patient came to you with the recurring right rib issues that I have-- what would you be looking for?


My other recurring symptoms are tinnitus, vertigo, numbness in left side of face and neck that comes and goes, balance issues---- and the burning squeezing pain in ribs--- over the last 9 months.


MRI of head and neck were fine. MRI of t-spine showed a thin, hyper sensitive line in T8/9 area and small hemangiomas (cysts?) at T 8 and T12-- Neuro. said these were nothing to be concerned about.



Well, since the vertigo, tinnitus, and other symptoms above the neck are a separate question, I'd be glad to address those on a new page. As for the rib problem I'd look at the costovertebral area to rule out an impingement of the intercostal nerve and for that I'd get an MRI
Dr. Chip and 4 other Health Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.


My pleasure Jill