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When an X-ray scan is performed, the person to be scanned wears a lead apron in order to prevent X- rays from hitting his thyroid gland or reproductive organ.

But, the problem I have here is that, X-rays are projected to the rear of that person, and the rays are meant to pass through the person's body and hit the screen which is in front of the person.

But wait! That person is wearing a LEAD apron! So the lead apron situates between the screen and the person's body and any amount x-rays should be scattered by that apron!

So how do the x-rays find their way to hit the screen?

If there's any problem in my question please inform me. Thanks!

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  • $\begingroup$ This sounds a bit confused. I assume the case you are describing is that X-rays are sent through a patient to a screen on the other side, and the doctor is wearing a lead apron to protect themselves? $\endgroup$ – Anders Sandberg Aug 2 '18 at 8:05
  • $\begingroup$ Re, "...the lead apron situates between the screen and the person's body." That is not how they do it. IF they give the patient an apron (and note, it is not always practical for them to do so) then the apron only protects parts of the body that are not being studied. $\endgroup$ – Solomon Slow Aug 2 '18 at 16:58
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I have never heard of a person being scanned wearing a protective apron. The protective aprons for x-rays are for the personnel handling the machine and taking the scans, on a daily basis.

For the person being x-rayed of course no lead aprons!!otherwise the purpose would be defeated, as you state. Th dose he/she gets is very small, for the one off scan.

Edit after comment:

as pointed out in a link in the comments, radiation protection can also be used for patients

A lead (or lead equivalent) apron is a protective garment which is designed to shield the body from harmful radiation, usually in the context of medical imaging. Both patients and medical personnel utilize lead aprons, which are customized for a wide range of usages.

This part of the question then has to be answered

X-rays are projected to the rear of that person, and the rays are meant to pass through the person's body and hit the screen which is in front of the person.

Obviously the protection for the patient apron must be designed to protect areas of the body that need not be scanned . The ones under study can not be shielded from radiation, because of the obvious objection

So how do the x-rays find their way to hit the screen

So the shielded areas must be areas not of interest for the medical observation under study.

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    $\begingroup$ That is not correct. Lead aprons are widely used for patients to reduce their exposure to radiation especially to the thyroid Hal d and reproductive organs. Here is even a study conducted of its effectiveness: sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2405844015305867 , notice that they mention patient so there is no reason to say that lead aprons are not used for patients as well as its practical that the patients would need more shielding than the personnel. $\endgroup$ – Tausif Hossain Aug 2 '18 at 8:12
  • $\begingroup$ @TausifHossain "The 0.5 mm lead aprons blocked just over one third of the radiation scattered towards the surgeon" in the link you give. It is protecting the surgeon, the user of the machine/instrument $\endgroup$ – anna v Aug 2 '18 at 8:15
  • $\begingroup$ If you read the “Findings” section of the study they also mention the decrease in radiation exposure to the patients. I know that they wear lead aprons as my mother herself had to wear them multiple times when taking X-Rays. $\endgroup$ – Tausif Hossain Aug 2 '18 at 8:19
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    $\begingroup$ @TausifHossain corrected $\endgroup$ – anna v Aug 2 '18 at 13:04
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    $\begingroup$ I've often been given leaded covers for the body when getting dental x-rays, so giving patients some protective clothing for other parts pf the body is not unheard of. But I don't recall getting PPE when receiving medical x-rays. Strange. $\endgroup$ – dmckee --- ex-moderator kitten Aug 2 '18 at 17:48
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Notice that the image of the part of the body that is needed is not blocked by a lead apron. Such as when a dental X-Ray is taken then it’s true that the thyroid gland has a lead apron around it(as the thyroid is particularly suspectable from damage from X-Rays), but notice that the mouth has no shielding. Hence the X-Rays can ofcourse pass through vertically, through the mouth(and teeth) and down to the screen below without being scattered by the lead apron which is not in the line of passing of the X-Rays and the tissues being imaged.

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