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Medical Radiation Exposure in the United States

2006–2016 Trends

Mettler, Fred A. Jr.1

doi: 10.1097/HP.0000000000000996

The use of radiation in medicine and the associated population dose grew very rapidly from 1980–2006 predominantly as a result of computed tomography and nuclear medicine. Over the last decade there have been significant changes in image detectors and processing with almost complete elimination of film use. Economic and reimbursement issues have also had a significant effect on usage. After about 2010, the volume of computed tomography and interventional techniques has been fairly level, plain radiography has declined slightly, and noninterventional fluoroscopy has declined dramatically. Nuclear medicine procedures have also declined significantly. Cone-beam computed tomography has expanded particularly in dental radiography. The use of several complex types of image-guided radiotherapy has increased significantly. National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements’ Scientific Committee 4-9 is currently conducting a full assessment for 2016 of collective and per caput effective dose. The report is expected to be completed in 2019, and preliminary work suggests a decrease in collective and per caput effective dose from that previously estimated for 2006.

1Professor Emeritus, Department of Radiology, University of New Mexico School of Medicine, 2211 Lomas Blvd. NE, Albuquerque, NM 87106.

The author declares no conflicts of interest.

For correspondence contact the author at the above address, or email at

(Manuscript accepted 12 September 2018)

© 2019 by the Health Physics Society