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.