Computations of organ-specific radiation absorption by lung, breast, thyroid, active bone marrow and uterine tissues are used to rank sectional and full spine radiographic procedures according to their potentials for cancer induction. Assuming that the dose-effect relationship of radiation damage is linear and lacks a threshold effect, the prospective and retrospective carcinogenicities of commonly ordered spinal series are estimated. Cervical radiography is demonstrated to pose the least hazard to the patient, while full spine and lumbar (five views) procedures have the greatest. Organs most at risk as a result of spinal radiography are lung (thoracic and full spine), colon (lumbar and full spine), breast (thoracic and full spine), and prostate (full spine and lumbar).
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