Get the Lead Out: The Benefits of Lead Aprons

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X-rays are sometimes a cause for confusion and concern among patients of all ages. MRI machines, PET and CT scanners, x-ray machines and other medical imaging machines are some of the most common pieces of equipment one encounters in a visit to the doctor’s office; for a nervous or younger patient, the machinery can appear intimidating, even dangerous. However, all of these machines are relatively harmless so long as the patients and medical staff wear lead aprons.

Why Are Lead Aprons Necessary?

A lead apron is a shield that patients and medical staff wear as a layer of protection over their body if within six feet of x-ray beams. An additional thyroid shield must be worn if a person will be within three feet of x-ray beams. Lead aprons prevent harmful x-rays from penetrating the body. Although lead aprons don’t stop x-rays entirely, they do absorb an estimated 90 to 95 percent of x-ray beams.

Are x-rays dangerous enough that they warrant the use of lead aprons? Yes. Lead aprons are proven to reduce the amount of ionizing radiation exposed to reproductive organs. If lead protection isn’t used, a patient’s reproductive organs could be exposed to genetic mutations, which may be passed on to any offspring the patient may produce. While genetic mutations are not to be taken lightly, the amount of radiation necessary to produce genetic damage is actually much higher than what is produced in a typical x-ray procedure. Lead aprons help reduce what is a relatively small dose of radiation, and provide additional peace of mind for the patient.

 

What Happens If a Lead Apron is Damaged?

Hospitals and medical offices must adhere to a number of very strict rules and guidelines in using x-ray machines and medical imaging equipment, and lead aprons are also highly regulated.

If a lead apron is damaged, following these guidelines means the issues will be discovered quickly. Annual and bi-annual inspections are commonplace with medical equipment, and storage stipulations, like no folding and no creases, are utilized as to prevent any cracks in the lead material. Medical personnel take this equipment and its regulations very seriously.

 

Lead Aprons and Other X-ray Equipment

Lead aprons are one of many pieces of medical equipment you will encounter in your lifetime. The more you know about this effective and protective device, the more comfortable you’ll feel in wearing them. All Star X-ray provides a range of imaging equipment and support services to help doctors provide the best care for their patients. Contact us today to learn more about our products and services and for a free quote.