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Dr. Chip
Dr. Chip, Doctor (MD)
Category: Health
Satisfied Customers: 32720
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 3 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 3 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
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Customer: replied 3 years ago.


My pleasure Jill