READ NOW: Changes in Lead Shielding Coming Soon
Posted By Dhaniele Duffy on Jan 20 2022
Cottage Hospital will soon be following x-ray shielding guidelines provided by the American Association of Physicists in Medicine that recommend limiting the use of routine lead shielding during an x-ray.
we understand this is a huge shift from past practices and want to educate our providers and patients on the reasons behind this change. Patient safety is our first priority and studies now support that shielding does not provide any measurable benefit. In some circumstances, shielding may actually increase the radiation dose to patients. We know you may have questions surrounding this change.
We have included some frequently asked questions below:
Q: Why is Cottage Hospital no longer shielding patients?
A: Studies have shown that shielding patients provides very little to no benefit. This is because lead only protects you from the radiation outside of your body, not inside. Therefore, when a patient receives an x-ray we take care to only expose the area necessary for the exam.
Q: Why have patients been shielded with lead during X-ray exposures?
A: There was a concern that x-rays may lead to birth defects in future children or infertility. However, this has been shown to not be true at the levels of x-ray that are used during the exam.
Q: What is the risk of radiation from imaging?
A: The amount of radiation you’re exposed to during an x-ray is so small that the risk of cell damage is extremely low. The benefit to the patient will almost always exceed the risk of the x-ray.
Q: What is Cottage Hospital doing to keep radiation exposure low?
A: Cottage Hospital is invested in keeping the radiation dose to our patients as low as possible. Therefore, we keep our equipment up-to-date which reduces radiation per image. Our technologists and physicians are trained to use the smallest amount of radiation necessary for the exam. We also consider using non-radiation options (such as ultrasound or MRI) when appropriate.
Q: Why are Cottage Hospital staff wearing shielding during my exam?
A: Since the x-ray staff are exposed to radiation all day, every day, it is better for them to continue to wear shielding to help protect them from the external radiation.
Q: Can shielding actually increase radiation exposure?
A: Sometimes the shield gets in the way of the x-ray image. If this happens, then multiple x-rays may need to be done, which could increase the patient’s radiation exposure.
Q: What if I am pregnant? How about for children?
A: Cottage Hospital will offer shielding to pregnant and pediatric patients. Additionally, children typically receive lower dose x-rays, and specific pediatric protocols are used.
Q: What should I do if I have questions regarding radiation safety?
A: You may discuss any concerns you have with your doctor, or you may request to speak to a radiologist.
For further information, please review the links below:
- American College of Radiology: NCRP Recommends Against Routine Gonadal Shielding
- American Association of Physicists in Medicine: AAPM Position Statement on the Use of Patient Gonadal and Fetal Shielding
- National Counsel on Radiation Protection & Measurements: NCRP Recommendations for Ending Routine Gonadal Shielding During Abdominal and Pelvic Radiography
Listen to Stephen Puffer of 101.3 FM WYKR Radio interview Liz Paterson and Amie Trojanowski about upcoming shielding changes, radiology at Cottage Hospital, and more!