Tips for Maximizing Radiation Awareness

DEXA machines are modern medical marvels. Capable of determining vital health factors such as bone density and visceral fat percentage, using a DEXA can help guide life-saving wellness efforts.

Behind that power, though, is technology that requires careful handling: x-rays.

For patients, the amount of radiation utilized by a DEXA is minimal. A bone density scan used on a female patient requires approximately the same amount of radiation she would encounter from being outside for three hours.

For staff performing multiple procedures per day, however, it’s important to maintain an appropriate level of radiation awareness. Here are several suggestions that can contribute to an official office policy.

PLEASE NOTE: View the following suggestions as a supplement to, not a replacement for, radiation protection guidelines applicable manufacturer, medical, and government institutions provide.

Right-Size Space
Place the operator’s station at least:

  • Three (3) feet away from a pencil beam
  • Six (6) feet away from a fan-beam
  • Twelve (12) feet away from older models

If office configurations make these distances difficult or impossible, consider using a protective screen.

Foster a Culture of Cooperation
Besides right-sizing your space, it’s also essential to create a culture that prizes radiation usage best practices. Do this by:

  • Creating and promoting a checklist when it comes to handling the steps, tasks, and subtasks associated with operating the DEXA
  • Making sure experts conduct periodic calibration and constancy checks of beams and sources
  • Ensuring regular maintenance of the DEXA equipment
  • Arranging for robust staff training
  • Eliminating reliance on poor communication (illegible handwritten notes, for example)

A study conducted by the International Atomic Energy Agency found that even interpersonal problems between staff members and noisy (and therefore distracting) work conditions can get in the way of appropriate radiation usage measures.

Brandish a Badge
A personal monitoring device, worn by the staff members who operate the DEXA, is an excellent way to determine individual radiation exposure.

Such a device is often referred to as a radiation badge. Wear it between your neck and waist, on whichever part of your body is closest to the source of radiation. (Monitoring rings are also available in place of badges.) Keep in mind that you should never:

  • Share your badge with other operators
  • Expose badges to radiation intentionally
  • Wear a badge during a personal medical x-ray session

Monitor DEXA Success with DEXA+

It’s worth reiterating that for both the patient and operating staffer, DEXA radiation doses are very low. The level of radiation safety it offers makes the DEXA an even better machine for practices. Learn more about additional benefits behind the DEXA by contacting us today — there are few things you can do that are better for your practice or patients.

Sources
https://ehs.princeton.edu/laboratory-research/radiation-safety/radiation-monitoring-badges
https://www.acr.org/-/media/ACR/Files/Radiology-Safety/Radiation-Safety/Dose-Reference-Card.pdf
https://www.iaea.org/resources/rpop/health-professionals/other-specialities-and-imaging-modalities/dxa-bone-mineral-densitometry/staff
https://www-pub.iaea.org/MTCD/Publications/PDF/Pub1084_web.pdf