The purpose of this experiment was to explore the direction of scattered secondary ionizing radiation to a patient. A left lateral radiographic examination of the elbow was deemed appropriate due to its close proximity to radiosensitive organs and record dose limiting opportunities upon wearing a lead-rubber apron.Methods
An anthropomorphic phantom and lead-rubber apron (Pb 0.35 mm) was used with a 15 cc ionization chamber (model 10,100 AT TRIAD) to measure scattered radiation to radiosensitive organs. Dose readings were recorded before and after in order to quantify dose reduction. Pearson's correlation, linear regression, t-test and one way analysis of variance (ANOVA) statistics were used to affirm how likely dose limitation was attributed to chance (p < 0.05).Results
The lead-rubber apron offered dose reduction to most radiosensitive organs. Notably, ionizing radiation was significantly reduced to the left breast 0.0083 μGy (98%), right breast 0.0000 μGy (99.9%) and spleen 0.0262 μGy (99.9%). No empirical benefit was recorded for testes and ovaries. Interestingly, the thyroid recorded an increase in dose (0.1733 μGy; p = 0.01). This was later mitigated using a thyroid collar but identifies increased stochastic risks if lead-aprons are worn alone. Scattered radiation was also reduced to both eyes, which were not directly covered.Conclusion
Lead-rubber aprons are generally utilized to limit ionizing radiation, yet this article offers insight whereby increases to ionizing radiation to the thyroid are plausible when wearing a lead-rubber apron alone. Whilst these findings cannot be generalized to other radiographic examinations it provides insight into a potential increase risk of scatter to a radiosensitive organ.