Our Message Regarding the Use of Radiation

The UW Department of Radiology is committed to providing high-quality diagnostic imaging while maintaining the highest standards of patient safety. We provide a comprehensive imaging service in which minimizing radiation dose to patients is a priority by employing low radiation dose imaging protocols and offering alternative diagnostic imaging examinations that do not employ ionizing radiation.

Computed tomography (CT) accounts for the largest percentage of total patient radiation dose received from diagnostic medical imaging. The CT scan protocols within each subspecialty in the Department of Radiology have been designed in collaboration with our colleagues in the Department of Medical Physics to provide images of the highest quality while delivering the lowest possible radiation dose to the patient, taking advantage of current image enhancement technologies and radiation dose reduction techniques. For each CT scan performed, a radiation dose report accompanies the diagnostic images, allowing our faculty members to monitor CT radiation doses in realtime, thus minimizing the risk of high-dose scans going undetected. Furthermore, we perform a monthly audit of CT scan doses to ascertain the causes of any scans requiring higher than expected doses.

The Department of Radiology is a national leader in both research and clinical aspects of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). MRI offers routine and advanced imaging applications without the use of ionizing radiation. Our faculty members have developed MRI protocols as alternatives to CT scans including a “quick brain” protocol for assessing patients with hydrocephalus and other conditions that require only a limited survey of brain anatomy, allowing hundreds of adults and children to avoid unnecessary head CT scans. Furthermore, many young patients undergo MR angiography in lieu of CT angiography for the evaluation of suspected pulmonary thromboembolism and for evaluation and follow-up of diseases and anomalies of the aorta.

As children are particularly sensitive to the effects of ionizing radiation, our section of Pediatric Radiology practices the ALARA (as low as reasonably achievable) principle and follows the guidelines of the nationwide Image Gently Campaign and its associated Alliance for Radiation Safety in Pediatric Imaging. In fact, we have progressed even beyond these guidelines in an extensive effort to both improve image quality and reduce patient dose for pediatric studies. MRI and ultrasound are frequently used as alternatives to CT when appropriate.

The UW Department of Radiology practices ongoing quality improvement, and radiation dose monitoring and reduction continue to be a core quality practice. We meet or surpass standards issued by the American College of Radiology with respect to image acquisition and reporting. We remain committed to the needs of our referring physicians as well as to the needs and safety of our patients.

For further information or to find answers to your questions, please do not hesitate to contact a member of our faculty at the numbers below:

Specialty or Location Contact Number
Abdominal Imaging (608) 265-7216
Breast Imaging (608) 262-7133
Thoracic Imaging (608) 265-7250
Cardiovascular Imaging (608) 263-1229
Interventional Radiology (608) 263-8326
Musculoskeletal Imaging and Intervention (608) 263-6461
Neuroradiology (608) 263-8623
Nuclear Medicine (608) 263-9308
Pediatric Imaging (608) 263-0670
General (608) 263-9729

Community Division

Specialty or Location Contact Number
1 S Park CT (608) 287-2472
Meriter CT (608) 417-5945
Fort Atkinson (920) 568-5427
Mauston (608) 847-1829