Radiation protection in gastroenterology

The use of ionizing radiation in gastroenterology is in transition. In the past, gastroenterologists performed a variety of interventions involving radiation exposure, including performing gastrointestinal X-ray studies, placement of small bowel biopsy tubes, oesophageal dilation, and assistance with colonoscopy, as well as diagnostic and therapeutic procedures on the pancreatico-biliary system during ERCP (endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography). 

Most of the current X-ray exposure is from ERCP, luminal stents and dilation while the other procedures are becoming supplanted by improvements in diagnostic equipment and techniques. Gastroenterologists who are involved in ERCP procedures may work at specialized centres and may perform multiple procedures daily. In many circumstances where fluoroscopic and/or X-ray equipment is used, gastroenterologists can minimize risk to patients, staff and themselves.