Over the years, there has been a tremendous increase in the use of fluoroscopy in orthopaedics. The risk of contracting cancer is significantly higher for an orthopedic surgeon. Hip and spine surgeries account for 99% of the total radiation dose. The amount of radiation to patients and operating surgeon depends on the position of the patient and the type of protection used during the surgery. A retrospective study to assess the influence of the radiation exposure of the operating surgeon during fluoroscopically assisted fixation of fractures of neck of femur (dynamic hip screw) and ankle (Weber B) was performed at a district general hospital in the United Kingdom.
Materials and Methods:
Sixty patients with undisplaced intertrochanteric fracture were included in the hip group, and 60 patients with isolated fracture of lateral malleolus without communition were included in the ankle group. The hip and ankle groups were further divided into subgroups of 20 patients each depending on the operative experience of the operating surgeon. All patients had fluoroscopically assisted fixation of fracture by the same approach and technique. The radiation dose and screening time of each group were recorded and analyzed.
The radiation dose and screening time during fluoroscopically assisted fixation of fracture neck of femur were significantly high with surgeons and trainees with less than 3 years of surgical experience in comparison with surgeons with more than 10 years of experience. The radiation dose and screening time during fluoroscopically assisted fixation of Weber B fracture of ankle were relatively independent of operating surgeon's surgical experience.
The experience of operating surgeon is one of the important factors affecting screening time and radiation dose during fluoroscopically assisted fixation of fracture neck of femur. The use of snapshot pulsed fluoroscopy and involvement of senior surgeons could significantly reduce the radiation dose and screening time.
Keywords: Experience, fixation, fracture, radiation, surgeon