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Choosing the Right X-Ray Lead Apron

Written by Ryan Pryor on August 10, 2021
Category: X-Ray Lead Aprons


As any medical professional is aware, choosing the correct x-ray lead apron is extremely important. If you or your team require protective apparel such as lead shielding aprons for radiation protection, you want to invest in the best lead apron for each individual and for the correct job possible. 


An x-ray lead apron, a type of radiation shielding garment, is worn by medical professionals and patients for protection against direct and secondary radiation occurring from imaging procedures in hospitals, clinics, dental offices, and other medical practices. 


When choosing the best lead apron for radiation protection, you must consider the type of procedure the apron will be worn, how long the procedure will last, and how often the radiation protection will be required. To aid your assessment of these questions, it's best to follow the time, distance, and shielding evaluations of the ALARA principle, which stands for "As Low As Reasonable Achievable," as determined by physicists in medicine for radiation exposure. 


Before selecting the right garment, you'll need to distinguish among the type of style and coverage of radiation protection aprons. Overall you have two larger categories to choose between: front protection x-ray aprons and full protection x-ray aprons. First, front protection x-ray aprons are optimal for procedures that only require front-protection meaning there will not be many instances where the professional or patient will be turning or moving. Full protection x-ray aprons are those that offer more complete, front and back radiation protection. These garments are designed to shield those who will be circulating in imaging offices and will turn or have their back to the radiation source during procedures. Additionally, for those in the surgical field, the quick release drop x-ray apron option is designed so as the apron may be easily removed without compromising sterility. 


If the best lead apron style for you is front protection, they are available in three different closure types: buckle, strap (or tie), and Velcro (or hook and loop). Most aprons also will have features to allow you to adjust the fit for further superior comfort. If you are requiring a full protection apron, there are more varied styles available including a full wrap lead apron, full wrap vest, and full wrap skirt options. The full wrap apron offers maximum protection; however, possibly causing more limited mobility. Both the vest and skirt aprons provide greater flexibility to the wearer with regard to sitting, bending, or stooping with more limited full-body coverage. 


Once you have an understanding of the style of the garment it's important to decide on both the type of material and it's thickness based on the amount of radiation exposure. First, pick between protection lead aprons or lead-free aprons. X-Ray aprons manufactured with 100% lead are the standard in radiation protection but will be also the heaviest garments available. However, you can still get a lightweight lead apron by choosing between a lightweight lead as opposed to regular, and between 0.375mm or 0.5mm thickness. For a much lighter radiation protection garment, you can also choose a non-lead xray apron in either a 0.375mm or 0.5mm thickness. 


Next, it is important to have the correct fit for your x-ray lead apron. Sizing for most garments goes from petite, small, medium, large, extra-large, and double-XL. To capture your most accurate sizing for most front and full aprons, measure your width (from the chest), circumference (around the chest), and length (from the shoulders). For other specialty garments, you can refer to this x-ray apron sizing guide for further measurements for shirts, pregnancy aprons, thyroid guards, and other specialty guards and drapes to protect reproductive organs and other vulnerable body parts.  


Finally, you have choices for the fabric that the x-ray lead apron will be made from. Nylon is the best material, but it can be among standard nylon, comfort nylon, reinforced nylon, and specialty nylon in varying colors and patterns to suit your needs. For even more custom protection apparel, you can embroider your apron or garment to personalize it even more. 


Choosing the best lead apron is no simple task. With a wide range of brands, options, and styles, you want to go with an x-ray protection apron company with a trusted reputation, premium products with an economic price, and superb customer service. For any assistance with your x-ray lead apron needs, please contact us or give us a call at (800) 251-2629. Learn more about our high-quality Apron Construction process here: