Rotund Radiographically Rejected – Study: More Americans too fat for X-rays, scans

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 reported Tuesday.

With 64 percent of the U.S. population either overweight or obese, the problem is worsening, but it represents a business opportunity for equipment makers and hospitals, said Dr. Raul Uppot, a radiologist at Massachusetts General Hospital.

Our population, or a majority of it, has eaten itself into livestock proportions. Now I frequently have patients I cannot CT.

Oh, take your ‘do a history and a careful physical exam and you won’t need as many scans’ and stick it in your ear. I defy you to clear the c-spine of a 450 pound patient with tingling in the arms. Won’t fit in the CT or the MRI, even the ‘open MRI’.

Weighty problem. Not funny.


  1. I’m assisting on laparoscopic obesity surgery of late. Impressive what new add-ons to the tables have been invented; and special long instruments, liver retractors, etc. A flourishing industry, no doubt about it.

    In med school, I once used a vaginal speculum on the inguinal fold in order to insert a spinal needle into the groin to find the femoral artery for an ABG. Maybe that’s when I knew I should be a surgeon.

  2. Preface: I’m a lowly hospital assistant.

    Not infrequently do we have the luxury of trying to use the CT or MRI on large patients. Sometimes they clear by putting one arm up above the head, and sometimes they are sent away. There are tape measures to see if they’ll clear easily.

    Time to put one foot in front of the other.