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Lead Apron


There could be various categories of radiation protective clothes available for X-RAY technologists like glove, aprons, thyroid shields, glasses, etc.
Lead apron is one of them, they are the essential and primary radiation protective garments used by the professionals during fluoroscopy.
Fluoroscopy is a medically operated procedure which makes a real time video of the movement inside a part of the body by passing X-RAYS through the body over the period of time. Though, X-RAYS are considered to be a form of ionizing radiation.

What are Lead Aprons actually made up of ?

It is a type of personal protective equipment ( PPE ). Lead aprons are made up of radioactive shield material. It exceedingly lower down the effect / dosage of radioactivity the wearer absorbs.

Why would a patient be given / recommended a Lead Apron ?

Lead aprons are generally used in and during medical facilities or procedures. It is used to protect the patients and the workers from unnecessary or uncalled X-RAY radiation exposure from diagnostic radiological procedures.
There could be other diagnostic radiological procedures too, like Computed Tomography ( CT ), Magnetic Resonance Imaging ( MRI ),etc.

How effective can a Lead Apron be ?

Shielding of the apron can mainly be achieved by having on the protective lead apron of 0.25 or 0.5 mm thickness, which has been specified to lessen over 90% to 99% of the radiation dose.

How can you define the quality of a Lead Apron ?

Computed Tomography ( CT ), fluoroscopy or radiographic imaging is used to test the real integrity of the lead apron.

Which Lead Apron is the best ?

There can be many kinds of protective supplies and apparels to get rid of the harmful or unnecessary radiations.
Choosing the right lead apron is really very important for any reputed medical workplace or office.
Selecting the ideal or the best lead apron totally depends on two main factors :

  1. The type of protection needed.
  2. The amount of X-RAY protection needed

When we talk about the ‘ type of protection needed ‘ we basically refer to the fundamental medium of the safety garment. The type of material that is generally used can either be lead or lead-free. Lead is standard in radiation protection but you can also try a lightweight lead with a different thickness to it.

And when we talk about ‘ the amount of X-RAY protection needed ‘ we normally refer it to the total coverage a lead apron is providing us. The most complete coverage from radiation exposure is provided by the Full protection lead X-RAY aprons amongst other aprons.

Can you say that Lead Aprons are also considered to be a part of PPE ( Personal Protective Equipment ) ?

YES, Lead aprons could definitely be considered to be a part of PPE. Caps, gloves and lead glasses are some of the more examples of personal protective equipment.

What thickness is generally recommended for a Lead Aprons ?

At least 0.25mm lead equivalent thickness on the back and front should be there. Aprons with wraparound type are mapped to be designed with 0.25mm + 0.25mm lead equivalent thickness in the front.

Why is Lead Aprons not included / used in modern practices ?

Research have shown that there is not at all any evidence of routine X-RAYS’s which have been taken through radiology damages the reproductive organs.

What are the actual disadvantages of Lead Apron ?

While it is very effectively used to counter unnecessary and harmful radiations, On the other hand, it carries some banes too :

  1. Lead is a toxic material naturally.
  2. It is inconvenient and inflexible.
  3. Lead aprons are generally heavy and contribute to chronic issues to physicians.

How to properly store Lead Apron ?

It is very important to store lead aprons properly in order to ensure that they provide best protection possible in return. Creases, and eventually cracks in the lead could definitely effect the result drastically in a negative way and also, diminishes the protection factor of course.
Special kind of racks as well as hangers are available almost throughout every X-RAY use areas and are seamlessly designed to hang them without any stress or creases. If an apron hanger is not available with you then you can also use a regular clothes hanger too ( just make sure that where you hang the apron and if the hanger could handle the weight of it ). You can also lay the apron flat on a desk or a counter.

How often should Lead Aprons be checked \ analysed ?

Annually, Visual and tactile inspection should be done properly. Usually, visible damages are looked forth to as well as the sagging and deformities.

How often should Lead Aprons be washed ?

Daily, It is generally recommended that you go through the manufacturer’s instructions and recommendations. The aprons should be scrubbed with a soft bristle brush, using cold water and light detergent . It should be deodorised too.

Does Lead Aprons get expired ?

NO, It can be used endlessly as long as you take a proper and good care of it and if it does not have any major defects.

When should we replace Lead Aprons ?

Normally, The life expectancy of the lead apron is ten ( 10 ) years but it is also speculated that defects are likely to come in five ( 5 ) years.

When a Lead Apron could be appropriate and effective ?

  1. A lead apron is not ideal for shielding you from 18F but surely is appropriate for 80 kVp X-RAY beam ( around 95% of the rays emitted by the X-RAY would be shielded ). The lead apron can easily cause pain and stress to the back muscles, to protect it, usually a skirt style apron is adequate to cover the lower abdomen.
  2. A lead apron of at least 0.25mm lead equivalence will reduce the scattered X-RAYS by 95 per cent in fluoroscopic procedures.
  3. In cases where the X-RAY operator just steps away from the patient in order to turn on the beam, just like in the case of mammography or chest radiography, a lead apron is not at all important.

How can a Lead Apron be ineffective ?

The Apron can damage the quality of diagnostic tests and sometimes also can unknowingly increase the patient’s exposure to radiations.

How can a Lead Apron be ineffective ?

The Apron can damage the quality of diagnostic tests and sometimes also can unknowingly increase the patient’s exposure to radiations.

Is there anything better than Lead, in terms of blocking the radiations ?

Tungsten is also one of the most preferred choice for radiation shielding because it uses less material than lead to prove equal level of absorption. It can be easily come into use of medical field.

Types of Apron

The main types of lead aprons are:

  1. Frontal Protection

    Frontal protection aprons come with either 0.25mm, 0.35mm or 0.50mm of lead shielding protection in the front part of the apron. They are also available with many necessary features including back type, closure options ( buckle closure, strap closure / tie style and Velcro closure ) and aprons specially planned out for speciality applications.

  2. Front and Back Protection

  3. There are various options to choose from when you are looking for a front and back protection type of aprons which include full wrap apron and also vest/skirt aprons.

    Front Protection Equivalent / Back Protection Equivalent




  4. Full Wrap Apron

    Full wrap aprons are present in many styles which include full overwrap, special procedure and tabard style providing the best protection needed.

    Full overwrap protection

    Full overwrap aprons provide the kind of back support which reduces the back stress and fatigue during the long procedures. It is secured by the velcro strap which also provides maximum radiation protection.

    Special Procedure

    Special procedure aprons have a Velcro attached to it which allows the sides to separate whenever you are sitting as well as bending while still maintaining the front posture.

    Tabard Style

    Tabard style apron was a short court which used to be wore by men at the time of middle-ages. Tabard style apron was a single piece, sleeveless apron that used to have a right shoulder and side Velcro that used to allow you easy access.

    Skirt / Vest Aprons

    Skirt / vest aprons is great for maximum weight distribution between the hips and the shoulders which results in eliminating stress on the lower and upper back. They provide amazing flexibility to the person who wears it, doesn’t matter if you are standing, stooping or sitting.

    Quick Drop X-RAY Apron

    Quick drop X-RAY aprons help you remove your apron without causing any harm to the sterile field. After you are through with the X-RAY part in your procedure, removing your apron can release the fatigue. You can easily reach the velcro tabs situated at the rear part of the gown, through someone’s assistance. Once it has been released the apron automatically slides down from under the gown you are wearing.