Answer to Question #9978 Submitted to "Ask the Experts"

Category: Medical and Dental Equipment/Shielding — Shielding

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

Q
In an x-ray room, what should I do about metal objects like lighting and doorknobs?

Are these things okay to have if they are not in the way of the x-ray beam?
A
Your question is not totally clear regarding your concern. I will assume that you are asking whether or not the presence of metal objects in a typical x-ray room may cause issues with scatter radiation or image quality issues if those objects are not in the x-ray beam.

As long as these items are not in the path from the x-ray collimator to the image receptor, they will not cause any problems with the x-ray beam or the image. If metal objects are in the primary x-ray beam (such as patient jewelry, coins, a pocket knife, etc.), then there is concern mainly because they may obstruct the anatomy that is being diagnosed with the x ray. Also, for installations with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), it is critical that certain metal objects not be inside the room because they can become drawn to the magnet bore as dangerous projectiles.

Kennith “Duke" Lovins, CHP
Health Physicist
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