“Everybody’s worried about radiation overexposure. It’s unfortunate the CT scan provides the best information. For kidney stones, we’ll do ultrasounds and KUBs. X-rays often don’t give us enough information, so we get the CT scan anyway.
I order ultrasounds and x-rays whenever possible, but I follow a lot of patients for microhematuria and abnormal urine cytologies, and they require CAT scans. You need to weigh the pros and cons. CT scans give you in-depth information, but you have to ensure it’s appropriate.
In my practice, we often get IVPs for kidney stones, and a lot of radiologists snicker because it’s a relatively antiquated study and they don’t do them anymore. But it still gives us the information we need without risking that extra radiation.
If you can get away with doing an upper or lower abdominal scan, it’s a good way to limit radiation, especially for chronic issues. You don’t want to continue those sorts of studies on patients if you know it’s something that needs to be followed for the rest of their life.
I hate to say this, but I come from a family of attorneys and this is a very litigious society. I feel like we’re somewhat painted into a corner in terms of ordering tests because that give us better information. Heaven forbid you miss something and then you’re asked, “Why didn’t you get a CT scan?”
Meredith Perry, DO
Somers Point, NJ