An x-ray room is designed to be a safe place for patients. By lead-lining the x-ray room’s walls and occasionally its ceilings and floors, you can reduce radiation exposure. This protects both staff members and their patient's health by reducing potential health risks that may result from long term treatment in an unprotected environment. In this post we'll explore why lead-lining is required, the three stages of lead-lining your x-ray room, as well as additional considerations.
What is lead-lining?
Lead-lining consists of a lead sheet, which is either applied to the wall surface or installed into panels. The resulting thickness of this protection varies based on how much radiation shielding you need for your room.
What does lead-lining do?
There must be lead between the walls (interior and exterior) and other rooms of an x-ray room as lead-lining protects patients from radiation exposure by shielding the patient from both x-rays and gamma rays. It also protects staff members who are in close proximity to patients, such as radiology technicians or physicians.
Stages of lead-lining your x-ray room
There are three key stages when it comes to lead-lining your x-ray room:
1. Equipment room drawing and a radiation shielding intake form
The equipment room drawing shows where the equipment is and what’s outside the walls, for example a receptionist area on one wall or whether the room is on the first or second floor.
A radiation shielding intake form must also be completed. This form will ask you to supply the composition of the material within the building, and the types of x-rays you’ll be performing, for example, cross table shots. Once the equipment room drawing and intake form are complete they need to be sent to a physicist.
2. Physicist’s report
The physicist will provide a report based on the equipment room drawing that outlines exactly how much lead is required for the x-ray room and how thick it needs to be in each area. They don’t have to physically go onsite to make the recommendations; they can do it from the information provided through the equipment room drawing and radiation shielding intake form.
The physicist’s report detailing how much lead is required and where it’s required may come back from anywhere between 2-3 business days up to 14 days.
In some cases only the operator area needs to be lead-lined. This may be because of the construction material used for the room, for example a brick wall or a wall being an outside wall that doesn’t show any potential harm to people passing by.
Once the report is received from the physicist then you’re able to order the lead required for the x-ray room. We can have this delivered to your facility and liaise with your contractor and electrician to inform them of where and how to put the lead in accordance with the physicist report.
Once the build out is complete, our team will provide installation training. Installs can range from 2 days for chiropractic facilities to 3 days for urgent care. We will then train your staff on how to utilize the system.
Not only do you have to lead-line the walls of an x-ray room but you also need to protect the operator area. A traditional x-ray room will have an operator area where the radiology technician or doctor stands behind. This traditionally comes with a lead-lined x-ray window typically 12x12 inch, which allows them to see the patient while taking the x-ray in a safe environment where they’re not exposing themselves to radiation.
Ceilings and floors
You may have to lead-line the x-ray room ceiling and floor. This may be needed if you’re on the second floor of a building, taking x-rays on a table and shooting down to the floor where there’s people below. The materials of the building will also contribute to whether it needs lead-lining. For example, if you have a wood frame you may have to lead-line as there’s not enough material to stop the radiation from going to the floor below.
Chiropractic offices use a minimal amount of x-rays and will have less lead requirements than a hospital doing hundreds of x-rays a day. The frequency and types of x-rays performed are all covered in the radiation shielding intake form before the physicist performs calculations and comes up with the shielding report.
If you are looking to build or upgrade an x-ray room, we can help. We can draw up your equipment room drawing, help implement the lead requirements from your physicist report, and will be there with you throughout the installation process. Our team of experts is ready to help lead-line your x-ray room so contact us today!