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Are x-rays safe for the brain?

Q: My question is whether brain also gets exposed when PNS X-Ray (x-ray for Para Nasal Sinuses) is done since PNS & brain are close to each other. And how safe it is if the brain is exposed to X-Ray? Is it totally safe or just the damage is ignorable? Recently, I went to a general physician with a complain of mild fever. I said that I often suffer from this type of fever with sore throat and headache once in a two-three months (and not more frequent than that). The onset of the disease may be triggered from indigestion problem or unsuitable weather (cold) and usually I recover within 3-5 days without any medicine or may be in 2 days with paracetamol kind of drugs. However, he suggested that I do a X-Ray of PNS. But I am wondering and particularly worried about whether that particular test is considered completely safe nowadays or not. Please tell me what is thought nowadays about brain getting X-ray exposure and its implications?

A:As far as the paranasal sinuses are concerned, although the brain and the sinuses are closely related, there has been no demonstrable brain damage mentioned in literature, even in children. No amount of x-irradiation is considered as technically safe. Safety norms are in place by the international authorities that defines as maximum permissible dose; as there is also background radiation that varies from place to place (geographical) and invariably present in some minimal doses. Where the question of diagnostic radiological examination is concerned; the referring doctor usually decides whether the exposure of x-radiation to the patient carries more benefit than its harmful effects. In diagnostic radiology, the radiation dose to the patient is almost negligible. To add further to this issue, I may state that for certain brain and head and neck tumours, radiotherapy doses in excess of the acceptable diagnostic doses are given for cure and / or control of the neoplasms. Brain complications related to radiotherapy to the brain are not very common. In a nutshell, for adults, x-ray doses in diagnostic radiography are safe for all practical purposes.


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