Aarhus University Seal

Patient shielding in medical imaging re-evaluated

Together with major European bodies involved in imaging radiation safety, AIAS Fellow Ruben Pauwels has contributed to a re-evaluation of the use of shielding in radiology, which has resulted in issuing of consensus-based recommendations.

Image: Patient lead shielding apron and ‘coloured shields’ symbols, indicating the consensus recommendation.

A joint, multidisciplinary group representing several major European organizations related to medical imaging have just published a consensus statement regarding the use of patient shielding in X-ray imaging. AIAS Fellow Ruben Pauwels is part of this group, and has contributed with expert knowledge within the area of dental imaging.

The outcome of the group is published in three journals, and the paper represents multidisciplinary-based recommendations for patient shielding in radiology. In the majority of cases, patient contact shielding is no longer recommended, as it typically shows no significant protective effect. In some cases, shielding can even lessen the quality of imaging or increase radiation dose. The statement further specifies that, in most forms of dental imaging, shielding of the thyroid gland may be used due to its relatively high protective effect, especially for younger patients.

The statement and recommendations could have considerable impact in and outside Europe in relation to the use of shielding in radiology. Due to its support by organizations representing all different stakeholders, including radiographers and patients, it is likely that the new findings will lead to updated legislation within the area, and may require a significant cultural change in clinical practice.

“We are now focusing on the communication of these recommendations at different levels; to radiographers and other medical practitioners, to policy makers, and of course to the patients themselves,” said Ruben Pauwels, AIAS Fellow and biomedical scientist.

Ruben Pauwels main research areas comprise 3D image quality assessment, CNN-based deep learning, CT reconstruction artefacts and medical radiation protection.

Access the paper in three scientific journals here

‘European consensus on patient contact shielding’ in: Physica Medica, 23 December 2021:  https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1120179721003586

‘European consensus on patient contact shielding’ in: Radiography, 22 December 2021:

‘European consensus on patient contact shielding’ in: Insight into Imaging, 23 December 2021:


Ruben Pauwels, AIAS Fellow, Associate Professor

Aarhus Institute of Advanced Studies, AIAS
Høegh-Guldbergs Gade 6B
DK-8000 Aarhus C