Derivation of factors for estimating the scatter of diagnostic x-rays from walls and ceiling slabs

J Radiol Prot. 2012 Dec;32(4):373-96. doi: 10.1088/0952-4746/32/4/373. Epub 2012 Sep 24.


Computed tomography (CT) scanning rooms and interventional x-ray facilities with heavy workloads may require the installation of shielding to protect against radiation scattered from walls or ceiling slabs. This is particularly important for the protection of those operating x-ray equipment from within control cubicles who may be exposed to radiation scattered from the ceiling over the top of the protective barrier and round the side if a cubicle door is not included. Data available on the magnitude of this tertiary scatter from concrete slabs are limited. Moreover, there is no way in which tertiary scatter levels can be estimated easily for specific facilities. There is a need for a suitable method for quantification of tertiary scatter because of the increases in workloads of complex x-ray facilities. In this study diagnostic x-ray air kerma levels scattered from concrete and brick walls have been measured to verify scatter factors. The results have been used in a simulation of tertiary scatter for x-ray facilities involving summation of scatter contributions from elements across concrete ceiling slabs. The majority of the ceiling scatter air kerma to which staff behind a barrier will be exposed arises from the area between the patient/x-ray tube and the staff. The level depends primarily on the heights of the ceiling and protective barrier. A method has been developed to allow tertiary scatter levels to be calculated using a simple equation based on a standard arrangement for rooms with different ceiling and barrier heights. Coefficients have been derived for a CT facility and an interventional suite to predict tertiary scatter levels from the workload, so that consideration can be given to the protection options available.

MeSH terms

  • Facility Design and Construction
  • Radiation Protection*
  • Radiology Department, Hospital*
  • Scattering, Radiation*
  • X-Rays*