Get the Lead off Our Backs!

Tech Vasc Interv Radiol. 2018 Mar;21(1):7-15. doi: 10.1053/j.tvir.2017.12.003. Epub 2017 Dec 19.


Many interventionalists face physical challenges almost daily for years or decades. The burden of assuming awkward positions while carrying extra weight can take its toll on the musculoskeletal system to such an extent that the career is ended or modified to exclude procedural aspects. The proliferation of lighter aprons has unfortunately resulted in reduced protection with poor correlation of protection to labeling due to the inadequacies of testing methods for nonlead materials. The protective quality of the non-leads is not superior to lead-containing composites on a weight basis, and the user no longer knows how well they are protected unless buying aprons containing lead. Various useful methods and shields that may reduce radiation exposure are supported by the floor, ceiling, table, or patient. The suspended personal radiation protection system is a recent development which provides substantially greater radiation protection than conventional lead aprons combined with other shields, while also taking all of the weight off of the operator. It is composed of an expansive and thick (1mm Pb equiv) apron with a large face-shield to protect the neck, head, and eyes, and is suspended overhead to provide motion in the x, y, and z planes. Exposures may also be substantially reduced by leaving the area during acquisition sequences and use of power injectors.

Keywords: musculoskeletal pain; radiation; shielding; spine disease.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Equipment Design
  • Humans
  • Job Description
  • Lead*
  • Musculoskeletal Diseases / etiology
  • Musculoskeletal Diseases / physiopathology
  • Musculoskeletal Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Occupational Exposure / adverse effects
  • Occupational Exposure / prevention & control*
  • Occupational Health
  • Occupational Injuries / etiology
  • Occupational Injuries / prevention & control*
  • Posture
  • Protective Clothing* / adverse effects
  • Protective Factors
  • Radiation Dosage
  • Radiation Exposure / adverse effects
  • Radiation Exposure / prevention & control*
  • Radiation Injuries / etiology
  • Radiation Injuries / prevention & control*
  • Radiation Protection / instrumentation*
  • Radiologists*
  • Radiology, Interventional*
  • Risk Factors
  • Workforce


  • Lead