Projects per year
The use of Gonad Shields (GS) has been advocated during pelvic radiography since the 1950's, particularly in children where the risks from radiation are higher. Previous literature reports that GS are often omitted and rarely used correctly. Objectives: Presentation of findings concerning use of GS in the context of previous data in the literature, and recommend any appropriate actions. Method: A retrospective analysis of images from an existing DICOM Digital Teaching Library (DTL) was conducted. Images of the pelvis from paediatric patients were reviewed and scored on whether a GS was present and (if present) whether the shield was considered to adequately protect the gonads. Results: 130 images were reviewed. 70 male and 60 female. The gonads were deemed to be protected by a shield in 22 images (17%), inadequately protected when a shield was used in 44 images (34%) with the remaining 64 images (49%) having no shield at all. A lack of adequate protection for the gonads was found, with females more likely to be inadequately protected than males (χ2 = 19.009, df = 1, p < 0.001). These findings become more clinically significant when reports of ovaries lying outside of the pelvic basin (in paediatric patients) are considered. Conclusions: The current practice of gonad shielding is neither effective nor beneficial for female paediatric patients, incorrect shield placement can often require repeat exposures. This finding is commensurate with previous literature. Therefore, gonad shielding is no longer an appropriate optimization tool for female paediatric patients during conventional radiography of the pelvis, and should be abandoned.