Lead Apron Inspection Using Infrared Light: A Model Validation Study.

TitleLead Apron Inspection Using Infrared Light: A Model Validation Study.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2018
AuthorsMcKenney SE, Otero HJ, Fricke ST
JournalJ Am Coll Radiol
Start Page313
Date Published2018 Feb

PURPOSE: To evaluate defect detection in radiation protective apparel, typically called lead aprons, using infrared (IR) thermal imaging. The use of IR lighting eliminates the need for access to x-ray-emitting equipment and radiation dose to the inspector.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: The performance of radiation workers was prospectively assessed using both a tactile inspection and the IR inspection with a lead apron phantom over a 2-month period. The phantom was a modified lead apron with a series of nine holes of increasing diameter ranging from 2 to 35 mm in accordance with typical rejection criteria. Using the tactile method, a radiation worker would feel for the defects in the lead apron. For the IR inspection, a 250-W IR light source was used to illuminate the lead apron phantom; an IR camera detected the transmitted radiation. The radiation workers evaluated two stills from the IR camera.

RESULTS: From the 31 participants inspecting the lead apron phantom with the tactile method, only 2 participants (6%) correctly discovered all 9 holes and 1 participant reported a defect that was not there; 10 of the 20 participants (50%) correctly identified all 9 holes using the IR method. Using a weighted average, 5.4 defects were detected with the tactile method and 7.5 defects were detected with the IR method.

CONCLUSION: IR light can penetrate an apron's protective outer fabric and illuminate defects below the current standard rejection size criteria. The IR method improves defect detectability as compared with the tactile method.

Alternate JournalJ Am Coll Radiol
PubMed ID29128502