Skin care advice following radiology procedures

Following specialised X-ray procedures, 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)

This 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 following your procedure, depending on the exposed area of skin.

If any of these symptoms appear, please contact the Imaging department to let us and your referring consultant know, as we may need to arrange a follow up appointment.

Further recommendations

  • Apply a creamy moisturiser (e.g. Epimax) sparingly to the affected skin. You can buy this or something similar 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 know.

References

1. The Society and College of Radiographers (2020) Radiation Dermatitis Guidelines for Radiotherapy Healthcare Professionals

2. The Society of Interventional Radiology. Interventional Fluoroscopy-reducing radiation risks for patients and staff.NIH Publication No.05-5286. March 2005

How to contact us

Brunel building
Southmead Hospital
Westbury-on-trym
Bristol
BS10 5NB

If you have any queries please contact the number on your appointment letter.

 

© North Bristol NHS Trust. This edition published November 2022. Review due November 2025. NBT002791

Skin care advice following radiology procedures