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Ultrasound safer than CT scans

health-and-fitness Updated: Dec 26, 2012 00:46 IST

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Ultrasound scans, which rely on sound waves, are safer than CT scans which use X-ray radiation to confirm or rule out surgery for appendicitis, a new study has found.

Researchers from the Washington University's School of Medicine in St Louis found that children suspected of having appendicitis are likely to receive CT scans, which involve radiations.

Use of either scanning technique can potentially reduce the occurrence of unnecessary surgeries and expedite the diagnosis of appendicitis. But recent reports have suggested that the radiation exposures in CT scans can significantly increase children's lifetime cancer risk.

"Appendicitis is a very tough diagnosis, because its symptoms overlap with viral infections and other problems," said researcher Jacqueline Saito. "We don't want to operate when the appendix is fine, but if we wait too long, an inflamed appendix can rupture or perforate, making recovery more complicated."