The primary purpose of lead aprons is attenuation. Attenuation is the pro-active reduction in the intensity of an x-ray beam by placing a barrier in its path. The lead apron is the barrier. It provides the shielding required to protective radiosensitive body parts during medical procedures. This usually takes the form of a short frontal apron for frontal protection and a wrap around in case the personnel back will be exposed to the radiation.
The most common and standard protection aprons are made of 100% lead and lead composites, depending on the level of protection required. This means that they weigh significantly less than the former. This form is applicable for short and medium length procedures. Regular and scheduled lead apron inspection is a crucial procedure for medical personnel. The major reasons are highlighted below.
The dangers associated with exposure to x-rays are detrimental. Long-term exposure often leads to damaged DNA, RNA, and bodily proteins. This often leads to health complications and future cell mutations. Unfortunately, there are myriad scenarios where medical personnel require performing the procedures on patients. The lead apron thus offers the attenuation and shielding. For maximum efficacy, the apron should maintain functional integrity. Regular lead apron inspection ensures that the aprons that are cracked, thinning, scratched or torn are discarded, making way for new and functional purchases.
Though lead aprons are inexpensive, frequent inspection can increase their longevity. Upon inspection, the user can notice and correct defects and probable malfunctions. Considering the wide array of medical equipment and supply that rely on a static budget, such measures can result in long-term savings for the medical institution.
As highlighted, a lead apron protects vital organs from germ cell mutations in future generations, as well as present problems from the person exposed. While the regular diagnostics x-ray procedures are not enough to cause such problems, long-term exposure, as would happen to medical personnel, does result in bodily harm. Regular lead apron inspection assures the user of reliable performance. This, other than the functionality benefits, accords peace of mind to the user, thus resulting in more productivity and job satisfaction.
It is mandatory to undertake regular apron lead inspection. Local, state and national x-ray boards, as well as health regulatory boards, require that the relevant stakeholders undertake regular testing. However, there are no set standards for the testing procedures to use. Thus, institutions formulate their policies and procedures. Inspection is more frequently required for facilities that use X-rays more often, such as orthopedic institutions. Regulatory bodies often carry out an audit of such facilities to ensure compliance. For this reason, always have a ready report of user garment’s inspection history. One of the most functional tools for this purpose is Smart Track . It offers allocations for documenting inspections, adding inventory, as well as report filing, storage and retrieval for easy access.
There are three main inspection processes. Visual inspection works best for tears, scratches, bumps, and other imperfections. Tactile inspection involves feeling the surface material with your hands to check for thinning and creases, with the material laid flat, or hanging. X-ray inspection utilizes radiography to inspect suspect and vulnerable areas including the gonads and thyroid. The user then visualizes the breaks and thin scratches on the resulting image. Fluoroscopy involves the use of a fluoroscope on manual mode to inspect suspect areas. Whichever the lead apron inspection method, it’s important to keep a readily available record of the inspections. Tracking software such as Smart Track comes in handy for easy inspection management.