Scatter Radiation vs. Direct Beam Radiation, What’s The Difference?

Do you know what type of radiation exposure your doctors or medical personnel are being exposed to?  Understanding the difference between scatter radiation and direct beam radiation will help you better educate and protect staff in your facility.

Scatter Radiation

Scatter radiation occurs when radiation deflects off an object, causing x-rays to be scattered.  It is important to keep in mind that scatter radiation has the ability to travel in all different directions.

Most of the exposure your medical staff will endure is from scatter radiation.  Whether they’re taking an x-ray or assisting in a fluoroscopic procedure, the risk of scatter radiation exposure is high.  To keep medical staff protected, it is essential they follow proper safety regulations and wear radiation protection apparel.

For instance, the Xenolite NonLead Special Procedure Apron is a full wrap around apron providing maximum protection.  This apron allows coverage in the front and back, to shield from scatter beams.  Body parts most sensitive to radiation include: the thyroid gland, eye tissue, reproductive and digestive organs.

Direct Beam Radiation

Direct Beam Radiation occurs when an object is in direct path of the radiation beam.

During a fluoroscopic procedure, as the x-ray beam is passed through the patient’s body, a doctor may come in contact with the direct beam.  Or a medical technician may need to position a patient during an x-ray, causing their hands and potentially other body parts to be exposed.  In both cases, wearing proper Lead Gloves can be necessary for shielding direct beam radiation.

Appropriate radiation protection apparel is just one factor in keeping people safe from the dangers of scatter and direct beam radiation.  To find more safety tips and regulations, ask your facility’s radiation safety officer for guidelines.

We hope this post helps you understand the difference between scatter radiation and direct beam radiation. If you have any questions or comments regarding this post, please leave them below!

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