Recent Blog Articles

Some imaging tests not worth the costs and risks, from the November 2013 Harvard Women's Health Watch

November 07, 2013

When doctors recommend imaging tests such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or computed tomography (CT) scans, many people don't ask questions—they just assume that it's the right thing to do. Yet medical imaging isn't always necessary or appropriate, reports the November 2013 Harvard Women's Health Watch.

For up to one-third of imaging tests performed in this country, the benefits don't outweigh risks such as radiation exposure, according to a survey published in JAMA Internal Medicine. Yet more people are undergoing medical imaging tests than ever before. Between 1996 and 2010, the use of CT scans nearly tripled, from 52 scans per 1,000 people to 149 per 1,000. Rates of MRI scans almost quadrupled during the same time period, from 17 scans per 1,000 people to 65 scans per 1,000.

To continue reading this article, you must log in.

Subscribe to Harvard Health Online for immediate access to health news and information from Harvard Medical School.

  • Research health conditions
  • Check your symptoms
  • Prepare for a doctor's visit or test
  • Find the best treatments and procedures for you
  • Explore options for better nutrition and exercise
Learn more about the many benefits and features of joining Harvard Health Online »

I'd like to receive access to Harvard Health Online for only $4.99 a month.

Sign Me Up

Already a member? Login ».

Disclaimer:

As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of last review or update on all articles. No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.