Skip to main content

Radiation Tissue Damage: Radiation is a treatment used for many different medical conditions. It is often used as a therapy for various forms of cancer.

Radiation tissue damage is a side effect of radiation therapy. It occurs as a result of damage of the normal cells as well as the tumor/cancerous cells by the radiation.Radiation Tissue Damage

It is common for radiation to cause the death of cells (both cancerous and healthy cells). Radiation can damage blood vessels, resulting to inadequate supply of blood to the body tissues. The lack of blood supply can eventually cause non-healing wounds to form in soft tissue.

What are the symptoms of radiation tissue damage?

The symptoms of radiation tissue damage are not usually visible and can be difficult to detect. This is because radiation tissue damage often starts from deep in the tissue or bone.

Common symptoms of radiation tissue damage include pain, blood in the urine, rectal bleeding, and vaginal discharge.

Does radiation delay tissue healing?

The normal process of wound healing at various stages can be disrupted by radiation.

How do you treat radiation damage?

Radiation damage can be treated with antinausea medications, oral medications for your mouth, and hydrocortisone cream for your skin.

A drug known as amifostine may be used to protect against radiation damage.

Hyperbaric oxygen therapyRadiation Tissue Damage

This is an effective therapy that can be used for the treatment of radiation tissue damage.

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy provides dramatic successes in treating and preventing radiation tissue damage. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy has been used to treat radiation therapy damage of the brain, muscle, bone, and other soft tissues of the face and throat.

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy uses high concentrations of oxygen to repair damaged vessels and tissues. The therapy involves placing you in an oxygen chamber or room so that you can breathe in 100% oxygen.

The air we breathe contains just 21% oxygen. In an oxygen chamber, it can be increased to 100%. The higher concentration of oxygen that you breathe leads to increased wound healing.

The increased concentrations of oxygen quickly dissolved in the bloodstream and are delivered to your body tissues at a higher concentration. This high dose of oxygen facilitates the repair of damaged tissue and damaged blood vessels.

The increased oxygen promotes the growth of tiny new blood vessels inside and around the radiation site. The increased oxygen levels also increase the ability of the white blood cells to kill bacteria. 

How long does radiation necrosis last?

Radiation necrosis (death of healthy tissue) typically occurs 1–2 years after undergoing radiation treatment. It can also occur in as short as 3 months and as long as 30 years.

Is radiation necrosis fatal?

Radiation necrosis can be fatal and can cause serious problems. Large doses of ionizing radiation can cause acute illness by decreasing the production of red blood cells. Very large doses of ionizing radiation can damage the heart and blood vessels, brain, and skin.

Is radiation damage reversible?

The effects of radiation can be reversible since cells can repair themselves and function normally.Radiation Tissue Damage

What is the first sign of too much radiation?

The harmful effects of radiation might not be observed unless you are exposed to large doses of radiation. Early signs of too much radiation may include weakness, fatigue, fainting, and confusion. Other signs include bleeding from the nose, mouth, gums and rectum, bruising, skin burns, open sores, and sloughing of skin.

Does radiation weaken the immune system?

Radiation therapy can potentially the immune system, especially if radiation is passed through the bone marrow. In this case, it can affect the production of white blood cells. This may not suppress the immune system enough to make you vulnerable to disease and infections.

Research suggests that chemotherapy can affect part of the immune system for up to 9 months after the treatment. Within this period, patients may be vulnerable to disease and infections.

What type of medical radiation causes tissue damage?

There are two types of medical radiation that cause tissue damage: ionizing and non-ionizing.

Ionizing radiation is the energy absorbed by body tissue in the form of electromagnetic waves.

Electromagnetic waves include such types of radiation as x-rays, gamma rays, and ultraviolet rays that make you tan or burn.

Non-ionizing radiation, on the other hand, does not have enough energy to remove electrons from atoms or molecules. This includes visible light, microwaves, and radio waves.

Can radiation therapy treatments damage normal tissue?

Radiation therapy treatments can damage normal tissue, so it is often necessary to protect, shield, or reduce the exposure of healthy tissue to the radiation. This is done by using shields, blockage, multileaf collimators, or the use of normal tissue sparing techniques.

What does radiation do to your tissue?

As the gamma rays travel through your body, they deposit some of their energy in the cells of your body, especially the cells of your skin and your gastrointestinal tract. The damage caused by these rays can be limited by using lead shields and the distance between the source and yourself.

Featured image source