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Radiation Protection

How much radiation am I exposed to when I get a medical x-ray procedure?

The exact amount of radiation exposure in an x-ray procedure varies depending on the part of the body receiving the x-ray. Some examples of common x-ray procedures and approximate exposures are:

Single chest x-ray: 0.02 mSv (2 mrem)

Dental x-ray (four bitewings): 0.004 mSv (0.4 mrem)

Limbs and joints: 0.06 mSv (6 mrem)

Abdomen: 0.7 mSv (70 mrem)

Mammogram (four images): 0.13 mSv (13 mrem)

Source: National Council on Radiation Protection & Measurements (NCRP), Report No. 160 Exit

Generally, the radiation received during an x-ray is small compared to other radiation sources (e.g., radon in the home). The average annual radiation dose from natural background sources (for comparison) is 3.0 mSv (300 mrem). For more information on radiation sources, see the Radiation Sources and Doses webpage or calculate your radiation dose.

Learn about Radiation Terms and Units like mSv and mrem, which are used to measure radiation dose.

Return to Frequent Questions about Radiation Protection.