Following specialised X-ray procedures, where fluoroscopy has been used to guide small instruments through small vessels in the body, it is possible that a small patch of skin may have been exposed to radiation for a long period of time. This can produce changes to the skin. The changes depend on which area of the body the x-rays were pointing at (for example the head or the back) and the length of the procedure.
Skin reddening (also known as Erythema) is the first sign that the small patch of exposed skin has been affected. This looks like sunburn and can feel warm, sensitive and tight. This can happen anything from the first 24 hours up to 2 weeks later.
Temporary hair loss – this may also start up to three weeks later, depending on the the exposed area of skin.
If any of these symptoms appear, please contact the radiology department to let us know and your referring consultant, as we may need to arrange a follow up appointment.
- Apply aqueous cream sparingly to affected skin. You can buy aqueous cream from your pharmacist. Do not apply the cream to broken skin.
- Wash skin with lukewarm water and pat gently dry
- Whilst symptoms persist, wear loose cotton clothing (if skin damage is to the body) and try to let air circulate around the affected area
- Protect any affected skin from direct sunlight.
- If you contact your GP about this issue, please inform them of your radiology procedure.
- If you are required to have any further x-ray procedures within 14 days, please let the hospital staff knows.
The Society and College of Radiographers (2020) Radiation Dermatitis Guidelines for Radiotherapy Healthcare Professionals
The Society of Interventional Radiology. Interventional Fluoroscopy-reducing radiation risks for patients and staff.NIH Publication No.05-5286. March 2005
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© North Bristol NHS Trust. This edition published April 2021. Review due April 2023. NBT002791