Choosing the right apron
September 13, 2018
ALARA is the currently radiation safety philosophy that stands for As Low As Reasonably achievable. This is based on the understanding that any amount of radiation exposure, no matter how small can lead to an increased chance of negative effects, such as cancer and cataracts. For staff who are regularly exposed to radiation, the cumulative effect can be detrimental. Studies have shown that staff who do not adequately protect themselves by following ALARA can develop some of the following condition over years of exposure:
- Eyes— radiation-induced cataracts
- Hands—cancer, dermatitis
- Body—cancer and birth defects in children
AliMed provides radiation protection garments designed to encourage usage with lighter, lead-free materials, fatigue-reducing designs, and single-use solutions — all in one place.
Radiation aprons provide protection
Radiation aprons protect the body from scatter radiation. Here are seven qualities to consider when choosing the right apron to fit your needs:
1. Weight Preference: For most clinicians, weight is the most important feature because they are required to wear aprons for such long periods of time, frequently over four hours at a stretch. At these times, a few pounds can make a huge difference. AliMed's Ultralight Lead-Free Aprons are the lightest on the market
2. Protection Level Most departments request a minimum of 0.5-mm Pb or equivalent, which is the level of protection that AliMed aprons offer. We offer aprons made of four different protection materials, which will vary the weight of the apron.
3. Coverage: There are two types of coverage — front protection and front/back protection aprons. AliMed offers multiple styles of both types of aprons.
- Front Protection Aprons— These aprons are for the clinician who does not turn their back to the source of radiation. Most AliMed aprons are front protection (with the exception of the Vest/Kilt and Coat aprons). Physicians typically only need front coverage since they are in control of the C-arm, which is in front of them.
- Front/Back Protection Aprons— These aprons provide full coverage for someone who may be circulating in the room during a procedure. If their back is to the C-arm at any time, they need this extra protection. These aprons are heavier as they contain more protective material. The Vest/Kilt apron is a two-piece apron and is the most comfortable since the weight is split between the shoulders and hips. Many interventional departments will wear Vest/Kilts exclusively.
4. Fit/Style:The closeness of the fit of an apron is critical due to the positions used during fluoroscopy. Most clinicians stand at an angle to the C-arm table during a procedure, so the axillary area (underarm) is at risk for exposure. Drooping or bagginess around this area is risky because of the proximity of the beam. AliMed offers aprons from Small to 3XL, but can also make custom-sized aprons upon request.
5. Colors and Prints: AliMed offers two groupings of aprons: GRAB n' GO Aprons and Personalized/Perfect FitTM Aprons.
6. Durability: is paramount to the hospital's purchasing department, not the clinician. The clinician sees the importance of durability, but regards it below issues of protection and comfort.