How to Protect Yourself From Radiation in the X-ray Imaging Room

Lead glasses

Ever wondered where X-rays got their name? Labeling something with the letter X typically signifies that it’s unknown, and that’s exactly what happened with X-rays. This invisible rays are similar to the light rays we can see, except much shorter and higher in radiation. Their short length gives them their unique properties, which have allowed them to become ubiquitous in the modern medical industry.

When you visit a doctor’s office to get an X-ray, you’re really allowing the invisible rays to pass through your body. Your skin won’t absorb these rays, but your bones, tendons and ligaments will because they’re denser. This allows X-ray procedures to become unique windows into the inner workings of the human body — a useful tool in determining an individual’s broken bones and joint dislocations.

In order to view these highly specialized images, certain medical technologies had to develop that could best display them to both doctors and patients. This is where PACS computers, short for picture archiving and communication system, were born. PACS workstations are advanced digital systems that allow medical professionals who work in radiology (the study of images of the human body) to best view mammogram, ultrasound, MRI and X-ray results, among other things.

When you get an X-ray, you only get exposed to a slight amount of radiation, even when you wear no radiation protection products on your person. The medical practitioners who must administer the X-ray imaging, however, face increased exposure, so they’re the ones who need to be decked out in lead aprons, lead glasses and other radiation protection products. Anyone who is not wearing protective clothing (minus the patient) should leave the room when the imaging takes place.

So why don’t patients need to shield themselves? The answer has to do, again, with advancements in the field of medical technology. Modern X-ray machines can focus the release of radiation to a specific area, meaning the surrounding body parts will hardly be affected at all. Workers who administer the procedures face the risk of refracted rays bouncing off the patient, which is why it’s essential for them to wear the appropriate radiation protection products while inside the imaging room.

It’s important remove all you jewelry before entering the imaging room, too. And always tell your doctor if you’re pregnant before getting an X-ray, since the risk of radiation can cause certain problems to develop with your baby. For more information, talk to your physician, or discuss in the comments below. Get more on this here:

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