Gonadal Shielding During X-Rays to be Discontinued on March 21

To provide the highest quality diagnostic imaging exams at the lowest health risk, Children’s will no longer place lead shields over patients during their X-ray exam.

Since April 2019, the American Association of Physicists in Medicine (AAPM) has championed a critical way to make X-ray imaging safer and more effective by discontinuing the long-standing practice of placing leaded shields over patient gonads and pregnant patients. The National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements (NCRP), the State of Nebraska and Children’s pediatric radiologists fully support the discontinuation of routine shielding of patient gonads during imaging exams.

Children’s plans to adopt and implement this new best practice on Monday, March 21. Exceptions may be made for patients and families who insist a shield be used, even after discussion of the risks and benefits, but only when the shield will not interfere with the diagnostic value of the examination.

Children’s will continue to screen all female patients aged 10 and older for pregnancy and collaborate with the ordering provider prior to image acquisition when there is a possibility of pregnancy. If it is deemed necessary to image a pregnant patient, and because shielding has no benefit to the baby, a shield will not be used.

Although Children’s is discontinuing the use of gonadal and fetal shielding on the patient, ancillary staff and family members in the room during image acquisition will still be required to wear the appropriate protective shielding.

View these Frequently Asked Questions created by the AAPM, which contain three sections, each with a different target audience. The first addresses questions and concerns of health care professionals, including, but not limited to, radiologic technologists, physicians, advanced practice providers, medical physicists, radiation safety officers and nurses. This section also includes some suggested wording that can be used when discussing patient shielding with patients and parents or other caregivers of pediatric patients. The second section addresses common concerns among patients and is best suited for adult patient populations. The third section is intended for parents and other caregivers of pediatric patients.

Please feel free to print and provide this flier to patients or families.