Answer to Question #13211 Submitted to "Ask the Experts"

Category: Medical and Dental Patient Issues — Diagnostic X Ray and CT

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


I had a computed tomography (CT) of the abdomen and pelvis (with contrast) a few years ago. I am concerned about my radiation dose because protective covering was not used. Would this type CT require covering/protecting of the chest and breast area to prevent unnecessary radiation beyond the abdomen?


The use of protective coverings is discouraged in CT exams for several reasons: (a) it is possible to interfere with the image results, (b) it could cause the radiation output of the CT scanner to increase, thereby raising the dose to the patient needlessly, (c) the scattered radiation doses are a small fraction of the dose in the area being imaged, and (d) in most cases, the protective covering does not actually intercept the scattered radiation (see the answer to Q12892 for a graphical representation of this).

Kent Lambert, CHP, FHPS

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 26 November 2019. 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.