Radiation safety: a focus on lead aprons and thyroid shields in interventional pain management

Korean J Pain. 2018 Oct;31(4):244-252. doi: 10.3344/kjp.2018.31.4.244. Epub 2018 Oct 1.


C-arm fluoroscopy is useful equipment in interventional pain management because it helps to guide correct needle targeting for the accurate injection and drug delivery. However, due to increased use of C-arm fluoroscopy in various pain procedures, the risk of radiation exposure is a significant concern for pain physicians. The harmful biological effects of ionizing radiation on the human body are well known. It is therefore necessary to strive to reduce radiation exposure. Lead aprons with thyroid shields are the most fundamental radiation protective devices for interventional procedures, and are very effective. However, the operator's radiation safety cannot be guaranteed because pain physicians seem to lack sufficient interest, knowledge, and awareness about radiation safety. Also, inappropriate care and use of radiation protective devices may result in a higher risk of radiation exposure. The purpose of this article was to review the literature on radiation safety with a focus on lead aprons and thyroid shields and present recommendations related to those devices during C-arm fluoroscopic-guided interventions by pain physicians.

Keywords: Fluoroscopy; Ionizing radiation; Pain management; Protective devices; Radiation exposure; Radiation protection; Thyroid gland.

Publication types

  • Review