An overview of measuring and modelling dose and risk from ionising radiation for medical exposures

ANDREW TOOTELL, Katy Szczepura, Peter Hogg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (journal)peer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


This paper gives an overview of the methods that are used to calculate dose and risk from exposure to ionizing radiation as a support to other papers in this special issue.
The optimization of radiation dose is a legal requirement in medical exposures. This review paper aims to provide the reader with knowledge of dose by providing definitions and concepts of absorbed, effective and equivalent dose. Criticisms of the use of effective dose to infer the risk of an exposure to an individual will be discussed and an alternative approach considering the lifetime risks of cancer incidence will be considered.
Prior to any dose or risk calculation, data concerning the dose absorbed by the patient needs to be collected. This paper will describe and discuss the main concepts and methods that can be utilised by a researcher in dose assessments. Concepts behind figures generated by imaging equipment such as dose-area-product, computed tomography dose index, dose length product and their use in effective dose calculations will be discussed. Processes, advantages and disadvantages in the simulation of exposures using the Monte Carlo method and direct measurement using digital dosimeters or thermoluminescent dosimeters will be considered.
Beyond this special issue, it is proposed that this paper could serve as a teaching or CPD tool for personnel working or studying medical imaging.
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Pages (from-to)323-332
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 30 Nov 2014


  • Radiography
  • Dose
  • Risk
  • Thermoluminescent dosimetry
  • Monte Carlo method

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