How effective are lead-rubber aprons in protecting radiosensitive organs from secondary ionizing radiation?

C. M. Hayre, H. Bungay, C. Jeffery

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)



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.


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).


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.


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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)264-269
Number of pages6
Issue number4
Early online date14 Apr 2020
Publication statusPublished - 01 Nov 2020


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