Answer to Question #12688 Submitted to "Ask the Experts"

Category: Pregnancy and Radiation — Radiation workers/medical technicians

The following question was answered by an expert in the appropriate field:


I am currently 10 weeks pregnant and I work in the dental field. On a daily basis I take several dental radiographs. Is it safe to use a handheld x-ray system (Nomad Pro 2) while pregnant?


Yes, it is safe to use the handheld system while pregnant. A recent study (Makdissi et al. 2016) showed that for someone doing 100 x rays per week for 46 weeks using a handheld unit, the radiation dose to the trunk was not measurable and dose at waist level varied from 0 to 0.25 mSv. The regulatory limit for an occupationally exposed person in the United States is 50 mSv per year and to a pregnant occupationally exposed worker is 5 mSv per year. These reported results are even below allowable levels for members of the public.

The study's results showed that it is safe to use handheld x-ray units even while pregnant.

Kelly Classic
Certified Medical Health Physicist

Makdissi J, Pawar RR, Johnson B, Chong BS. The effects of device position on the operator's radiation dose when using a handheld portable x-ray device. Dentomaxillofac Radiol 45; 2016.

Ask the Experts is posting answers using only SI (the International System of Units) in accordance with international practice. To convert these to traditional units we have prepared a conversion table. You can also view a diagram to help put the radiation information presented in this question and answer in perspective. Explanations of radiation terms can be found here.
Answer posted on 30 October 2018. The information posted on this web page is intended as general reference information only. Specific facts and circumstances may affect the applicability of concepts, materials, and information described herein. The information provided is not a substitute for professional advice and should not be relied upon in the absence of such professional advice. To the best of our knowledge, answers are correct at the time they are posted. Be advised that over time, requirements could change, new data could be made available, and Internet links could change, affecting the correctness of the answers. Answers are the professional opinions of the expert responding to each question; they do not necessarily represent the position of the Health Physics Society.