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What options would minimize radiation exposure?
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What options would minimize radiation exposure?

10-15 years ago I had a spinal CT/Myelogram and numerous x-rays due to a lower back problem.  As a former smoker, I have also had quite a few chest x-rays over the years.  I am concerned about radiation exposure.

Currently, I have a pain in my mid back, roughly on a spot centered on the bottom 2 ribs - left of the spine by 3 - 6 inches.  It started in January, was gone in early March, but returned last Sunday.  Also, over about 4 months ending in February, I lost 30 pounds (about 187 to 157) - I was trying to lose the weight, but have recently found it difficult to maintain my weight.  I had a chest x-ray, and x-rays of the area around the left scapula, and no abnormalities were identified.

I have been referred for an abdominal CT scan.  I have a choice between a Somatom 128 dual source and a 64 slice machine.  Will a 128 slice have significantly less radiation exposure?  

Assuming we are looking for abnormalities on the organs located near the area of pain, should I push for an MRI instead? There is a Siemens 3-Tesla Magnetom unit at the facility.  Would it provide the info needed needed to rule in/out liver, stomach, pancreas problems?
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The referral calls for CT scans, without contrast, of the abdomen, pelvis, and chest.

Will the lack of contrast be sufficient to rule out cancers of the pancreas, live, and stomach?

Is the pelvic CT needed, and will it add significant radiation exposure?
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