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5 Reasons You Should Wear an Apron While Taking an X-Ray

Learn why it is important to wear a lead apron during an X-ray session.
Modern Times Mar 23, 2019
X-rays help doctors detect broken bones, infections, and even cancer, but it is also important for patients and technicians to protect themselves during an X-ray session.

While the risks associated with a typical X-ray session are very low, prolonged or excessive exposure to X-ray radiation can cause harmful side effects.

Cancer Risk

X-ray radiation is known to cause cell mutations and potentially cancer. The World Health Organization classifies X-ray radiation as a carcinogen.

Luckily, lead x-ray aprons can protect patients and technicians from overexposure to radiation during an X-ray. The lead in each apron blocks 90 to 95 percent of radiation from passing through.

Reproductive Issues

X-rays are discouraged for pregnant women, but everyone should be wary of possible reproductive issues. Excessive radiation has been known to damage sperm and eggs, and even cause genetic mutations that can be passed on.

This would take a lot of radiation, but it is still a good idea to cover that area with a lead apron.

Scatter Radiation

During an X-ray session, radiation can spread throughout the room and leak out of the X-ray equipment. This is especially a concern for X-ray technicians, which is why technicians always wear lead aprons.

This phenomenon can also expose unintended areas of patients’ bodies to X-ray radiation if they aren’t wearing a lead apron.


Taking an X-ray without a lead apron can also possibly cause some unpleasant symptoms in the short term.

Nausea is a possible short term side effect patients can experience if a lead apron isn’t used during an X-ray. This is especially prevalent in dental X-rays.

The Thyroid Gland

The thyroid is especially sensitive to X-ray radiation exposure, and special care should be taken to ensure it is always protected with a lead apron during the X-ray process.

Studies show that patients who underwent multiple dental X-rays before 1970 were at a greater risk for thyroid cancer because of a lack of protection.
Remember to keep these factors in mind the next time you visit a doctor or dentist, but don’t be discouraged from receiving an X-ray.

As long as the right safety precautions are followed, and a lead apron is used, an X-ray can be perfectly safe.