Do we need to shield certain areas of the body from X-rays used diagnostically? Elizabeth Tracey reports


Used to be that whenever X-rays were being used to image parts of the body a lead apron was used to shield body parts thought to be especially sensitive to radiation damage, such as the testes or ovaries. Fast forward to today where professional organizations such as the American Dental Association are saying such shielding isn’t necessary. Mahadevappa Mahesh, a medical physics expert at Johns Hopkins, explains.

Mahesh: When kids came for X-rays we used to place these shields on the gonads, assuming that we're going to be protecting gonads, and actually considering gonads are at a very high radiation risk. What we have found is the hereditary effect from radiation is not so much so therefore gonads are no longer considers the most sensitive organs. Other organs like breast tissue and other things are more sensitive.   :25

Mahesh says that lead aprons may offer a psychological benefit for people who are concerned about radiation exposure. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.