Archives for March 2011

Lead vs Non Lead Radiation Protection Apparel

Since the inception of modern radiation protection, lead has been the predominant material utilized to attenuate x-rays.  Placed between the x-ray beam and any object in need of shielding, lead blankets, lead aprons & lead barriers effectively protect patients and personnel from unnecessary exposure. The reason lead was selected as a shielding material is that it is dense and boasts a high atomic number, thus rendering it substantially effective against x-rays.  Readily available and functional, lead does have drawbacks in both its weight & lack of environmental friendliness. Lead is a hazardous material and must be recycled when apparel is no longer functional.

While lead continues to be a widely used source of radiation protection material, it is not the only element effective against the harmful effects of x-ray.  In recent years radiation protection apparel manufacturers have developed non-lead radiation protection apparel.  Each manufacturer utilizes their own proprietary blend of x-ray attenuating elements to create an x-ray shielding barrier comparable to lead.  Not to be outdone, non-lead apparel is 20-25% lighter in weight than regular lead.  As if that does not make this option desirable enough, the NonLead protective apparel on the market today is environmentally friendly.  Unlike their lead counterparts, non-lead apparel does NOT need to be recycled once it is no longer in circulation.  The garments can be disposed of in the regular waste collection.

While non-lead aprons are slightly more expensive than lead gowns, the benefits outweigh the additional cost.  Back and shoulder injuries are prevalent among physicians and medical personnel required to wear radiation protection apparel on a daily basis. During some procedures, personnel may don these items for 4-5 hours at a time.  Non-lead aprons can afford the user a 2-5 lb weight differential, a noticeable difference while standing during a patient exam.  In addition, the cost of recycling lead aprons can be substantial – even if all you have to pay for is shipping!

Radiation protection Apparel is a must for medical professionals working in and around medical imaging departments. Now that you know more about the differences and similarities between lead and non-lead options, select the configuration that most closely suits your personal needs.

The How To’s Of Selecting Dental Loupes

Many dental loupes sales reps would have you think selecting the right pair of loupes for you would be a monumental challenge. Well it is time to demystify the loupe selection process, since it is a relatively easy concept to understand. There are only a few factors that need to be considered when deciding on which dental loupes is right for you. We will show you just how easy these concepts are and will hopefully reduce an anxiety that you have about selecting the correct pair.

Working Distance
The first thing to determine is your correct working distance.

Selecting the correct working distance means you will be able to maintain an ergonomic while you are performing any work. To determine this distance sit in an ergonomic position, as if you were working on a patient and take a tape measure and measure the distance between the bridge of your nose and the area of the patient you would be working on. This image to the left depicts this measurement well.

Depth Of Field
Once you have the working distance you need to understand what depth of field is. Loupes are made to stay in focus at specific working distances. However, this distance is actually a range. So if a loupes has a working distance of 18 inches and has a depth of field of 5.5 inches it means the loupe will remain in focus from a distance of 15.25 inches to 20.75 inches, or 2.75 inches on either side of the working distance.

Field Of View
The concept of field of view often seems to be the most confusing aspect of the dental loupe selection process. I think the best way to explain this is to give an example that doesn’t involve loupes at all. Look straight ahead. Everything you see is your eye’s field of view. Now put your hands around the side of your eyes to reduce your peripheral view. By doing this your field of view was just reduced. Dental loupes work in exactly the same manner. The field of view is everything that is able to be seen at one time when looking through the lenses of the loupes.

There are several different factors that can affect the field of view, and this is the only semi-complicated of the process. However, there is no need to worry the factors are straight forward and easily explained.

      Magnification – The higher the magnification the smaller the field of view will be.


    Distance from the lens – The closer your eye is to the lens the larger the field of view will be

Magnification is the last choice that you have in the dental loupe selection process. You need to determine on your own what magnification you feel most comfortable with and allows you to work effectively. For dentistry the most common magnifications are 2.5x – 3.5x. However, that is not to say some in the dentistry field do not use higher magnifications. A common approach to selecting loupes if you have never used them before is to purchase a lower magnification of 2.5x and once you feel comfortable with them purchase a pair of a higher magnification.

We hope this clears up any questions that you have concerning your dental loupes selection.

Still have questions?  Comment below and we’ll answer them for you.

Adding 360 Degree Images to Our Online Catalog

Taking 360 degree images is something that we have been wanting to do for some time.  However, it wasn’t until now that we had the ability to take them.  It is a frequent question that we receive from our customers, “Do you have an image of the other side of that item?” or “What does the backside look like?”  Well we can finally show you all angles of our products with our new 360 degree image program.

Coordinating with our manufacturers we will slowly begin rolling these images.  These images will hopefully solve the issue that is created when manufacturers provide a single image of products that don’t depict them well. It will take some time to get a complete library of these images but we will start with our most popular products that always generate these types of questions. The best part of these new images is that you will have control over spinning the product image. This is especially nice so that you can focus on a particular part of the image in case a certain part is in question.

Be Aware of The Dangers When Working Around Radiation

X-Ray Use In Diagnostic Imaging

The use of x-ray as a form of diagnostic imaging is not considered new in the medical industry. However, even after years of use, some medical professionals do not have a complete understanding of the harm caused by improper protection to medical imaging personnel. When exposed to direct x-ray beams or indirect beams (also known as scatter radiation) it is crucial that medical professionals protect themselves to the fullest extent possible. It is especially important for personnel to protect those body parts that have been found to be most sensitive to radiation exposure, including the thyroid gland, eye tissue, as well as the male and female reproductive systems.

Radiation Beam Exposure

When selecting protective apparel you want to consider your specific exposure to the radiation beam. This will require an understanding of the direction in which the radiation beam is focused, as well as your body’s position within the room in relation to the beam. Some individuals require protection of the front of their bodies while others may face the radiation as well as have the back or sides of their body turned toward the radiation during exposure. You’ll want to select radiation protection apparel that provides the necessary coverage of your body based on your individual exposure.

Lead Equivalency Standards

In the U.S., the industry standard for front protection apparel is 0.5 mm lead equivalency protection. Apparel that offers front and back protection is most often 0.5 mm in the front and 0.35 mm lead equivalence protection in the back. The difference in equivalency is attributed to the fact that frontal exposure is typically more prolonged than back exposure. Radiation aprons or gowns are designed to protect your essential organs from the shoulders to the thigh, but be sure to couple your apron selection with a thyroid collar to ensure that the delicate tissue of this gland is not unnecessarily exposed.

Is radiation eyewear provided by your facility?

It might be worth the personal investment. Protective lead glasses are now being offered in stylish frames at affordable prices for individuals. Do not put yourself at an increased risk for cataract complications by ignoring the necessity of protecting sensitive eye tissue from scatter radiation during medical imaging procedures.

If you have questions about your exposure to radiation in your medical profession, contact your facility’s radiation safety officer. This individual should be able to advise you as to the proper precautions necessary for your position.

Making Pressure Sores A Thing Of The Past In The Operating Room

Preventing pressure sores is not an easy task in the operating room.  However, with the right education and understanding of patient positioning you can help to prevent these “Never Events”.  For those not familiar with the term “never events” it is an occurrence in a health care setting that is preventable .  Never events range from safety issues to organizational issues but on top of the list are pressure ulcers acquired after admission to the facility.

Surgical pressure sores occur on a patient during a surgery when there is insufficient blood flow to skin tissue. This lack of blood flow is caused by the pressure of the patient’s own weight while lying on a surface. It is crucial for for the patients safety that proper measures are taken to allow for blood flow to skin tissue while a patient is in surgery. The two most common factors related to the potential for pressure sore injuries is the age of the patient and the length of time the patient is on the operating room table.

While most OR tables are equipped with foam table pads, these seemingly soft surfaces are not enough to prevent pressure sores from forming. It is essential that viscoelastic polymer gels be used to reduce the pressure especially in areas of the body that are more prone to sores.

The development of pressure ulcers is more common in bony prominences of the body. Depending on the position of the patient during the surgical procedure the bony prominences will be in different areas of the body. Some common areas of concern are the heels and elbows when a patient is lying on their back during a procedure. Fortunately pressure relieving gel manufacturers have designed products for the prone areas to aid in the prevention of sores.

Making use of other techniques to reduce pressure sores, such as repositioning the patient cannot always be done which is why it is crucial to have the appropriate pressure reducing surface in place. The American National Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel (NPUAP) has an excellent quick reference guide that outlines in detail how to prevent pressure sores from forming, not only in the operating room but also in other areas of medical care.

Pressure sores can be prevented in the operating room as long as nurses and doctors in assess a patients risks properly, prior to the procedure. The use of pressure relieving gel will help medical staff properly prepare their patients for long surgical procedures where a patient is most at risk. Understanding how pressure sores form and how they can be prevented is the only way those working in operating rooms will be able to stop this never event from happening.

Ample Scientific’s Complete Product Line Now Available

We are now an authorized distributor of Ample Scientific’s entire product line.  Ample Scientific is a manufacturer of scientific equipment with a concentration in lab microscopes and laboratory centrifuges.  Established in 2009 Ample Scientific has already made an impact in the laboratory by providing an inexpensive alternative while still maintaining superior quality.

All of Ample Scientific’s lab equipment comes with a standard one year limited warranty which protects against all manufacturer’s defects.  We are excited to offer their complete line so that our customers have a cost effective solution for their laboratory.  When browsing our online catalog you can easily identify their centrifuge line from their distinctive white and red colors.  Providing both digital and analog centrifuges, as well as portable 12 volt models that can be plugged into car lighter outlets, Ample Scientific will have a centrifuge to fit your requirements.

Since we do not have a large selection of centrifuges or microscopes to choose from on our website currently we are excited to team up with Ample Scientific to bring you their complete product line.