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Best Methods to Shield Doorways, Room Pass-throughs, and Windows from X-ray Scatter Radiation

Posted by Mallorie Bowling on


Best Methods to Shield Doorways, Room Pass-throughs, and Windows from X-ray Scatter Radiation

Medical providers understand the importance of keeping both their patients and employees safe from harmful radiation scatter produced by medical imaging equipment. This is true in any medical practice setting. When installing medical imaging equipment in a new area, or opening a new medical practice, questions often arise in determining requirements for radiation protection for the x-ray rooms and the best solution to provide protection.  

Industry Regulations for Radiation Protection

While a qualified expert should always be consulted for room design, installations generally follow the guidelines set forth in the NCRP Reports for radiation protection in you specific medical or dental area of practice. Often the patients absorb much of the incident x-ray radiation. As such, the scatter radiation can be blocked by standard gypsum wallboard or drywall.  

Many state radiation protection regulations, including Florida and California, specifically follow the NCRP guidelines. For example, with Dental radiation, these guidelines state that walls made of two layers of 5/8 in. offset gypsum board can be assumed to provide the minimum protection from scatter radiation. Two caveats include that the beam cannot be aimed toward the wall and there must be at least 6 ft. of separation between the chairs in adjacent rooms. If your new facility meets these requirements, most likely your facility will comply with the regulations.

The Simple Solution to Radiation Protection 

In addition to walls, medical practices must also consider radiation protection requirements for doors, windows and room pass-throughs. A buildout of a practice, such as this example of Computed Tomography Imaging Room can be expensive to install lead-lined or solid core doors or lead-glass windows and frames. The construction process can also be intrusive and time consuming. 

A simple alternative is to use a flexible lead-lined x-ray curtain that can be pulled across the opening when a procedure is being performed. Two layers of 5/8 in. gypsum board total 32mm thickness. At the scatter energy range of a typical dental intraoral Xray system, an equivalent level of protection will be provided by a lead-lined curtain of 0.25mm lead equivalent. Some dental installations and many medical practices use 0.5mm lead equivalent or more for extra safety as recommended by the radiation physicist.

These x-ray curtain shields, or drapes, can be installed in under two hours, and are as easy to install as window curtains or a wall mount TV.  For this installation, there are two main decisions to make: the length of the curtain track and the size of the curtain.  

When installed in a typical pass-through, a minimum ADA width will be 36 in.. If the opening is 36 in. wide, a 48 in. curtain should be selected to ensure overlap on each side. If you have a wider opening, just add corresponding width to the curtain.

The most common x-ray curtain length is 7 ft. This will cover a standard door height of 80”, and is also suitable for a pass-through since any scatter radiation above 7 ft. would not be expected to affect a person in a lower exposure environment.  

The x-ray curtain track will either be mounted above the door frame or from the ceiling.  Normally the track will extend 1-2 ft. on one side of the door opening, so the curtain can be pulled completely out of the way when not in use. A six ft. long track will be more than adequate for most situations.

Windows are shielded in the same way as doors. X-ray curtain tracks are mounted on the wall above the windows and can easily be pulled back when not in use. can provide the ready-made kits to cover these areas in a for a variety of applications including:

  • Medical practices
  • Dentist offices
  • Veterinary offices
  • Industrial applications 

Our x-ray curtains come in your choice of color, type mounting brackets, and hardware. The curtains are certified to international standards for radiation protection, following IEC 61331-1:2014. Our lead-lined radiation protection curtains provide the highest level of quality all while protecting from the harmful radiation scatter caused by medical imaging. 

Reach out to us today to let us know your needs or visit our website to learn more about our x-ray curtain solutions for radiation protection from medical imaging.

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