Patient Exposure During Radiological Procedures

Should I use a protective apron to protect the gonads?

There is almost no difference in patient exposure dose whether a protective gonad apron is used or not.

Some medical facilities have patients wear a protective apron during X-ray examinations. Since the areas outside the exposure field are not directly irradiated with X-rays, the purpose of the apron is to provide protection from scattered X-rays with the examination room. However, because most scattered X-rays are generated from inside the patient, there is no practical benefit from an apron. Similarly, aprons are sometimes used to protect gonads during radiography of hip joints in children, but radiation only affects gonad development if the radiation dose is very high, such as during radiotherapy. Therefore, those involved in medical radiation protection are aware that actively using such aprons should not be recommended, due to the possibility of having to repeat exposures because child movement shifted the protective gear out of position, for example.

Also, the use of protective aprons varies between facilities, which can cause unnecessary misunderstandings by patients. Therefore, we need to unify practices in the future.