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Americans getting too fat for X-rays

July 31, 2006|From Times wire reports

More and more obese people are unable to get full medical care because they are either too big to fit into scanners, or their fat is too dense for X-rays or sound waves to penetrate.

Radiologists have their own term for it when writing up reports: "These images are limited due to body habitus."

Dr. Raul Uppot, a radiologist at Massachusetts General Hospital, and colleagues looked for this phrase in radiology reports from 1989 to 2003. These included standard X-rays, computer assisted X-rays known as CT scans, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and positron emission tomography (PET).

"Overall, 7,778 or 0.15% of 5,253,014 reports were habitus limited," they wrote in the August issue of the journal Radiology.

"It essentially doubled over the last 15 years," Uppot said.

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