Fluoroscopy has been an integral part of modern interventional pain management. Yet fluoroscopy can be associated with risks for the patients and clinicians unless it is managed with appropriate understanding, skill and vigilance. Therefore, this study was designed to determine the amount of radiation received by a primary operator and an assistant during interventional pain procedures that involve the use of fluoroscopy
In order to examine the amount of radiation, the physicians were monitored by having them wear three thermoluminescent badges during each single procedure, with one under a lead apron, one under the apron collar and one on the leg during each single procedure. The data obtained from each thermoluminescent badge was reviewed from September 2008 to November 2008 and the annual radiation exposure was subsequently calculated.
A total of 505 interventional procedures were performed with C-arm fluoroscopy during three months. The results of this study revealed that the annual radiation exposure was relatively low for both the operator and assistant.
With proper precautions, the use of fluoroscopy during interventional pain procedures is a safe practice.
fluoroscopy; interventional pain management; radiation exposure
Although the risk of radiation-induced spontaneous malignancy and genetic anomalies from occupational radiological procedures is relatively low – and perhaps slightly lower still for the general population – patients and endoscopists in particular, should be aware of the cumulative risk associated with all exposure. Radiation dose has a direct linear relationship with fluoroscopy duration; therefore, limiting fluoroscopy time is one of the most modifiable methods of reducing exposure during fluoroscopic procedures. This retrospective study analyzed more than 1000 endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography procedures and aimed to determine the specific patient, physician and procedural factors that affect fluoroscopy duration.
Fluoroscopy during endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) has a logarithmic relationship with radiation exposure, and carries a known risk of radiation exposure to patients and staff. Factors associated with prolonged fluoroscopy duration have not been well delineated.
To determine the specific patient, physician and procedural factors that affect fluoroscopy duration.
A retrospective analysis of 1071 ERCPs performed at two tertiary care referral hospitals over an 18-month period was conducted. Patient, physician and procedural variables were recorded at the time of the procedure.
The mean duration of 969 fluoroscopy procedures was 4.66 min (95% CI 4.38 to 4.93). Multivariable analysis showed that the specific patient factors associated with prolonged fluoroscopy duration included age and diagnosis (both P<0.0001). The endoscopist was found to play an important role in the duration of fluoroscopy (ie, all endoscopists studied had a mean fluoroscopy duration significantly different from the reference endoscopist). In addition, the following procedural variables were found to be significant: number of procedures, basket use, biopsies, papillotomy (all P<0.0001) and use of a tritome (P=0.004). Mean fluoroscopy duration (in minutes) with 95% CIs for different diagnoses were as follows: common bile duct stones (n=443) 5.12 (3.05 to 4.07); benign biliary strictures (n=135) 3.94 (3.26 to 4.63); malignant biliary strictures (n=124) 5.82 (4.80 to 6.85); chronic pancreatitis (n=49) 4.53 (3.44 to 5.63); bile leak (n=26) 3.67 (2.23 to 5.09); and ampullary mass (n=11) 3.88 (1.28 to 6.48). When no pathology was found (n=195), the mean fluoroscopy time was 3.56 min (95% CI 3.05 to 4.07). Comparison using t tests determined that the only two diagnoses for which fluoroscopy duration was significantly different from the reference diagnosis of ‘no pathology found’ were common bile duct stones (P<0.0001) and malignant strictures (P<0.0001).
Factors that significantly affected fluoroscopy duration included age, diagnosis, endoscopist, and the number and nature of procedures performed. Elderly patients with biliary stones or a malignant stricture were likely to require the longest duration of fluoroscopy. These identified variables may help endoscopists predict which procedures are associated with prolonged fluoroscopy duration so that appropriate precautions can be undertaken.
ERCP; Fluoroscopy time; Radiation
The sacroiliac (SI) joint is frequently the primary source of low back pain. Over the past decades, a number of different SI injection techniques have been used in its diagnosis and therapy. Despite the concerns regarding exposure to radiation, image-guided injection techniques are the preferred method to achieve safe and precise intra-articular needle placement. The following study presents a comparison of radiation doses, calculated for fluoroscopy and CT-guided SI joint injections in standard and low-dose protocol and presents the technical possibility of CT-guidance with maximum radiation dose reduction to levels of fluoroscopic-guidance for a precise intra-articular injection technique.
To evaluate the possibility of dose reduction in CT-guided sacroiliac joint injections to pulsed-fluoroscopy-guidance levels and to compare the doses of pulsed-fluoroscopy-, CT-guidance, and low-dose CT-guidance for intra-articular SI joint injections.
Comparative study with technical considerations.
A total of 30 CT-guided intra-articular SI joint injections were performed in January 2012 in a developed low-dose mode and the radiation doses were calculated. They were compared to 30 pulsed-fluoroscopy-guided SI joint injections, which were performed in the month before, and to five injections, performed in standard CT-guided biopsy mode for spinal interventions. The statistical significance was calculated with the SPSS software using the Mann–Whitney U-Test. Technical details and anatomical considerations were provided.
A significant dose reduction of average 94.01% was achieved using the low-dose protocol for CT-guided SI joint injections. The radiation dose could be approximated to pulsed-fluoroscopy- guidance levels.
Radiation dose of CT-guided SI joint injections can be decreased to levels of pulsed fluoroscopy with a precise intra-articular needle placement using the low-dose protocol. The technique is simple to perform, fast, and reproducible.
sacroiliac joint pain; computed tomography; guided injections; low-dose protocol; sacroiliac joint injection; low back pain; radiation dose
Radiation exposure to physicians’ hands during interventional procedures with computed tomography (CT) fluoroscopic guidance may be high. A robot was developed that could hold, orient, and advance a needle, with CT fluoroscopic guidance. This robot could be either computer or joystick controlled. Twenty-three robotically guided percutaneous interventions were performed without complication. Physician radiation exposure was negligible during the CT fluoroscopy–guided procedures.
Computed tomography (CT), guidance, 70.12119; Computed tomography (CT), radiation exposure, 70.12119; Fluoroscopy, technology; Phantoms; Radiations, exposure to patients and personnel, 70.12119; Radiations, measurement, 70.12119
During the last 15 years, developments in X-ray technologies have substantially improved the ability of practitioners to treat patients using fluoroscopically guided interventional techniques. Many of these procedures require a greater use of fluoroscopy and more recording of images. This increases the potential for radiation-induced dermatitis and epilation, as well as severe radiation-induced burns to patients. Many fluoroscope operators are untrained in radiation management and do not realize that these procedures increase the risk of radiation injury and radiation-induced cancer in personnel as well as patients. The hands of long-time fluoroscope operators in some cases exhibit radiation damage—especially when sound radiation protection practices have not been followed. In response, the Center for Devices and Radiological Health of the United States Food and Drug Administration has issued an Advisory calling for proper training of operators. Hospitals and administrators need to support and enforce the need for this training by requiring documentation of credentials in radiation management as a prerequisite for obtaining fluoroscopy privileges. A concerted effort on the part of professional medical organizations and regulatory agencies will be required to train fluoroscopy users to prevent physicians from unwittingly imparting serious radiation injuries to their patients.
Credentialing fluoroscopist; Fluoroscopist radiation dose
Minimally invasive percutaneous pedicle screw instrumentation methods may increase the need for intraoperative fluoroscopy, resulting in excessive radiation exposure for the patient, surgeon, and support staff. Electromagnetic field (EMF)-based navigation may aid more accurate placement of percutaneous pedicle screws while reducing fluoroscopic exposure. We compared the accuracy, time of insertion, and radiation exposure of EMF with traditional fluoroscopic percutaneous pedicle screw placement.
Minimally invasive pedicle screw placement in T8 to S1 pedicles of eight fresh-frozen human cadaveric torsos was guided with EMF or standard fluoroscopy. Set-up, insertion, and fluoroscopic times and radiation exposure and accuracy (measured with post-procedural computed tomography) were analyzed in each group.
Sixty-two pedicle screws were placed under fluoroscopic guidance and 60 under EMF guidance. Ideal trajectories were achieved more frequently with EMF over all segments (62.7% vs. 40%; p = 0.01). Greatest EMF accuracy was achieved in the lumbar spine, with significant improvements in both ideal trajectory and reduction of pedicle breaches over fluoroscopically guided placement (64.9% vs. 40%, p = 0.03, and 16.2% vs. 42.5%, p = 0.01, respectively). Fluoroscopy time was reduced 77% with the use of EMF (22 s vs. 5 s per level; p < 0.0001) over all spinal segments. Radiation exposure at the hand and body was reduced 60% (p = 0.058) and 32% (p = 0.073), respectively. Time for insertion did not vary between the two techniques.
Minimally invasive pedicle screw placement with the aid of EMF image guidance reduces fluoroscopy time and increases placement accuracy when compared with traditional fluoroscopic guidance while adding no additional time to the procedure.
Minimally invasive; Electromagnetic field navigation; Pedicle screw; Fluoroscopy; Accuracy
Percutaneous vertebroplasty (PV) requires relatively lengthy fluoroscopic guidance, which might lead to substantial radiation exposure to patients or operators. The two-fluoroscopic technique (two-plane radiographs obtained using two fluoroscopes) during PV can provide simultaneous two-planar projections with reducing operative time. However, the two-fluoroscopic technique may expose the operator or patient to increased radiation dose. The aim of this study was to quantify the amount of radiation exposure to the patient or operator that occurs during PV using one- vs. two-fluoroscopic technique.
Two radiation dosimeters were placed on the right flank of each patient and on the upper sternum of each operator during 26 single-level PV procedures by one senior surgeon. The use of two-fluoroscopic technique (13 patients) and one-fluoroscopic technique (13 patients) were allocated in a consecutive and alternative manner. The operative time and mean radiation dose to each patient and operator were monitored and compared between groups.
Mean radiation dose to the patient was 1.97 ± 1.20 mSv (95% CI, 0.71 to 3.23) for the one-fluoroscopic technique group vs. 0.95 ± 0.34 mSv (95% CI, 0.85 to 1.23) for the two-fluoroscopic technique group (P =0.031). Mean radiation dose to the operator was 0.27 ± 0.12 mSv (95% CI, 0.17–0.56) for the one-fluoroscopic technique group vs. 0.25 ± 0.14 mSv (95% CI, 0.06–0.44) for the two-fluoroscopic technique group (P = 0.653). The operative time was significantly different between groups: 47.15 ± 13.48 min (range, 20–75) for the one-fluoroscopic technique group vs. 36.62 ± 8.42 min (range, 21–50) for the two-fluoroscopic technique group (P =0.019).
Compared to the one-fluoroscopic technique, the two-fluoroscopic technique used during PV provides not only shorter operative times but also reduces the radiation exposure to the patient. There was no significant difference between the two techniques with regards to radiation exposure to the operator.
Vertebral compression fracture; Osteoporosis; Vertebroplasty; Radiation dose
Computed tomography (CT) fluoroscopy is able to give real time images to a physician undertaking minimally invasive procedures such as biopsies, percutaneous drainage, and radio frequency ablation (RFA). Both operators executing the procedure and patients too, are thus at risk of radiation exposure during a CT fluoroscopy.
This study focuses on the radiation exposure present during a series of radio frequency ablation (RFA) procedures, and used Gafchromic film (Type XR-QA; International Specialty Products, USA) and thermoluminescent dosimeters (TLD-100H; Bicron, USA) to measure the radiation received by patients undergoing treatment, and also operators subject to scatter radiation.
The voltage was held constant at 120 kVp and the current 70mA, with 5mm thickness. The duration of irradiation was between 150-638 seconds.
Ultimately, from a sample of 30 liver that have undergone RFA, the study revealed that the operator received the highest dose at the hands, which was followed by the eyes and thyroid, while secondary staff dosage was moderately uniform across all parts of the body that were measured.
radiofrequency ablation; Gafchromic film; thermoluminescent dosimeter; computed tomography fluoroscopy
Imaging for urolithiasis has evolved over the past 30 years. Currently, non-contrast computed tomography (NCCT) remains the first line imaging modality for the evaluation of patients with suspected urolithiasis. NCCT is a dominant source of ionizing radiation for patients and one of its major limitation. However, new low dose NCCT protocols may help to reduce the risk. Fluoroscopy use during operating room (OR) surgical procedures can be a substantial source of radiation for patients, OR staff and surgeons. It is important to consider the amount of radiation patients are exposed to from fluoroscopy during operative interventions for stones. Radiation reduction can be accomplished by appropriate selection of imaging studies and multiple techniques, which minimize the use of fluoroscopy whenever possible. The purpose of this manuscript is to review common imaging modalities used for diagnosing and management of renal and ureteral stones associated with radiation exposure. We also review alternatives and techniques to reduce radiation exposure.
Calculi; imaging computed tomography scan; nephrolithiasis
Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) is an important tool for the diagnosis and treatment of the hepatobiliary system. The use of fluoroscopy to aid ERCP places both the patient and the endoscopy staff at risk of radiation-induced injury. Radiation dose to patients during ERCP depends on many factors, and the endoscopist cannot control some variables, such as patient size, procedure type, or fluoroscopic equipment used. Previous reports have demonstrated a linear relationship between radiation dose and fluoroscopy duration. When fluoroscopy is used to assist ERCP, the shortest fluoroscopy time possible is recommended. Pulsed fluoroscopy and monitoring the length of fluoroscopy have been suggested for an overall reduction in both radiation exposure and fluoroscopy times. Fluoroscopy time is shorter when ERCP is performed by an endoscopist who has many years experience of performing ERCP and carried out a large number of ERCPs in the preceding year. In general, radiation exposure is greater during therapeutic ERCP than during diagnostic ERCP. Factors associated with prolonged fluoroscopy have been delineated recently, but these have not been validated.
Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography; Radiation dose; Fluoroscopy; Radiation exposure; X-ray
The C-arm fluoroscope is an essential tool for the intervention of pain. The aim of this study was to investigate the radiation exposure experienced by the hand and chest of pain physicians during C-arm fluoroscopy-guided procedures.
This is a prospective study about radiation exposure to physicians during transforaminal epidural steroid injection (TFESI) and medial branch block (MBB). Four pain physicians were involved in this study. Data about effective dose (ED) at each physician's right hand and left side of the chest, exposure time, radiation absorbed dose (RAD), and the distance from the center of the X-ray field to the physician during X-ray scanning were
Three hundred and fifteen cases were included for this study. Demographic data showed no significant differences among the physicians in the TFESIs and MBBs. In the TFESI group, there was a significant difference between the ED at the hand and chest in all the physicians. In physician A, B and C, the ED at the chest was more than the ED at the hand. The distance from the center of the X-ray field to physician A was more than that of the other physicians, and for the exposure time, the ED and RAD in physician A was less than that of the other physicians. In the MBB group, there was no difference in the ED at the hand and chest, except for physician D. The distance from the center of the X-ray field to physician A was more than that of the other physicians and the exposure time in physician A was less than that of the other physicians.
In conclusion, the distance from the radiation source, position of the hand, experience and technique can correlate with the radiation dose.
distance; exposure time; radiation dose; radiation protection
The C-arm fluoroscope is known as the most important equipment in pain interventions. This study was conducted to investigate the completion rate of education on radiation safety, the knowledge of radiation exposure, the use of radiation protection, and so on.
Unsigned questionnaires were collected from the 27 pain physicians who applied for the final test to become an expert in pain medicine in 2011. The survey was composed of 12 questions about the position of the hospital, the kind of hospital, the use of C-arm fluoroscopy, radiation safety education, knowledge of annual permissible radiation dose, use of radiation protection, and efforts to reduce radiation exposure.
In this study, although most respondents (93%) had used C-arm fluoroscopy, only 33% of the physicians completed radiation safety education. Even though nine (33%) had received education on radiation safety, none of the physicians knew the annual permissible radiation dose. In comparing the radiation safety education group and the no-education group, the rate of wearing radiation-protective glasses or goggles and the use of radiation badges or dosimeters were significantly higher in the education group. However, in the use of other protective equipment, knowledge of radiation safety, and efforts to reduce radiation exposure, there were no statistical differences between the two groups.
The respondents knew very little about radiation safety and had low interest in their radiation exposure. To make the use of fluoroscopy safer, additional education, as well as attention to and knowledge of practices of radiation safety are required for pain physicians.
education; fluoroscopy; radiation; radiation monitoring; radiation protection
The use of fluoroscopy guidance together with the loss of resistance technique during epidural injections has been advocated lately; moreover, epidural injections in the absence of fluoroscopic guidance have a high rate of inaccurate needle-tip placement during the injections. However, the approach to the lower cervical and upper thoracic epidural space may be challenging due to its obscure lateral fluoroscopic views from overlying normal tissue structures. In this case, we report an alternative oblique C-arm fluoroscopy guided view approach to supplement the standard anterior-posterior and lateral fluoroscopic views to facilitate successful needle placement and precise anatomical localization of the epidural space.
alternative; epidural; fluoroscopy; oblique
Insertion of percutaneous iliosacral screws with fluoroscopic guidance is associated with a relatively high screw malposition rate and long radiation exposure. We asked whether radiation exposure was reduced and screw position improved in patients having percutaneous iliosacral screw insertion using computer-assisted navigation compared with patients having conventional fluoroscopic screw placement. We inserted 26 screws in 24 patients using the navigation system and 35 screws in 32 patients using the conventional fluoroscopic technique. Two subgroups were analyzed, one in which only one iliosacral screw was placed and another with additional use of an external fixator. We determined screw positions by computed tomography and compared operation time, radiation exposure, and screw position. We observed no difference in operative times. Radiation exposure was reduced for the patients and operating room personnel with computer assistance. The postoperative computed tomography scan showed better screw position and fewer malpositioned screws in the three-dimensional navigated groups. Computer navigation reduced malposition rate and radiation exposure.
Level of Evidence: Level II, therapeutic study. See the Guidelines for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.
Exposure to radiation over many years increases the incidence of cataracts and promotes the development of carcinoma of the thyroid gland. A prospective study of 24 operative procedures involving minimal invasive techniques and fluoroscopic guidance was undertaken in order to measure the radiation exposure to the primary surgeon. The study was conducted during 8 K-wire osteosyntheses in fractures of the distal radius, 8 closed interlocking intramedullary nailings in fractures of the femur and 8 internal fixator procedures, with or without posterior autogenic transpedicular bone grafting, in fractures of the lumbar spine. Radiation was monitored with the use of high sensitive thermoluminescent dosimeters. Fluoroscopy was necessary during the procedures, with exposure times ranging from 55 s to 12 min 35 s. The radiation dose received per procedure ranged from 0.6–259.3 μSv and was well within the dose limits set by German law.
Although many clinicians know about the reducing effects of the pulsed and low-dose modes for fluoroscopic radiation when performing interventional procedures, few studies have quantified the reduction of radiation-absorbed doses (RADs). The aim of this study is to compare how much the RADs from a fluoroscopy are reduced according to the C-arm fluoroscopic modes used.
We measured the RADs in the C-arm fluoroscopic modes including 'conventional mode', 'pulsed mode', 'low-dose mode', and 'pulsed + low-dose mode'. Clinical imaging conditions were simulated using a lead apron instead of a patient. According to each mode, one experimenter radiographed the lead apron, which was on the table, consecutively 5 times on the AP views. We regarded this as one set and a total of 10 sets were done according to each mode. Cumulative exposure time, RADs, peak X-ray energy, and current, which were viewed on the monitor, were recorded.
Pulsed, low-dose, and pulsed + low-dose modes showed significantly decreased RADs by 32%, 57%, and 83% compared to the conventional mode. The mean cumulative exposure time was significantly lower in the pulsed and pulsed + low-dose modes than in the conventional mode. All modes had pretty much the same peak X-ray energy. The mean current was significantly lower in the low-dose and pulsed + low-dose modes than in the conventional mode.
The use of the pulsed and low-dose modes together significantly reduced the RADs compared to the conventional mode. Therefore, the proper use of the fluoroscopy and its C-arm modes will reduce the radiation exposure of patients and clinicians.
fluoroscopy; radiation; radiation dosage; radiographic image enhancement
Interventional cardiology procedures result in substantial patient radiation doses due to prolonged fluoroscopy time and radiographic exposure. The procedures that are most frequently performed are coronary angiography, percutaneous coronary interventions, diagnostic electrophysiology studies and radiofrequency catheter ablation. Patient radiation dose in these procedures can be assessed either by measurements on a series of patients in real clinical practice or measurements using patient-equivalent phantoms. In this article we review the derived doses at non-pediatric patients from 72 relevant studies published during the last 22 years in international scientific literature. Published results indicate that patient radiation doses vary widely among the different interventional cardiology procedures but also among equivalent studies. Discrepancies of the derived results are patient-, procedure-, physician-, and fluoroscopic equipmentrelated. Nevertheless, interventional cardiology procedures can subject patients to considerable radiation doses. Efforts to minimize patient exposure should always be undertaken.
Patient dosimetry; interventional cardiology.
The growing use of interventional and fluoroscopic imaging in children represents a tremendous benefit for the diagnosis and treatment of benign conditions. Along with the increasing use and complexity of these procedures comes concern about the cancer risk associated with ionizing radiation exposure to children. Children are considerably more sensitive to the carcinogenic effects of ionizing radiation than adults, and children have a longer life expectancy in which to express risk. Numerous epidemiologic cohort studies of childhood exposure to radiation for treatment of benign diseases have demonstrated radiation-related risks of cancer of the thyroid, breast, brain and skin, as well as leukemia. Many fewer studies have evaluated cancer risk following diagnostic radiation exposure in children. Although radiation dose for a single procedure might be low, pediatric patients often receive repeated examinations over time to evaluate their conditions, which could result in relatively high cumulative doses. Several cohort studies of girls and young women subjected to multiple diagnostic radiation exposures have been informative about increased mortality from breast cancer with increasing radiation dose, and case-control studies of childhood leukemia and postnatal diagnostic radiation exposure have suggested increased risks with an increasing number of examinations. Only two long-term follow-up studies of cancer following cardiac catheterization in childhood have been conducted, and neither reported an overall increased risk of cancer. Most cancers can be induced by radiation, and a linear dose-response has been noted for most solid cancers. Risks of radiation-related cancer are greatest for those exposed early in life, and these risks appear to persist throughout life.
Radiation risks; Carcinogenesis; Diagnostic radiation; Therapeutic radiation
Background Intramedullary nailing under fluoroscopic guidance is a common operation. We studied the intraoperative radiation dose received by both the patient and the personnel.
Patients and methods 25 intramedullary nailing procedures of the tibia were studied. All patients suffered from tibial fractures and were treated using the Grosse-Kempf intramedullary nail, with free-hand technique for fixation of the distal screws, under fluoroscopic guidance. The exposure, at selected positions, was recorded using an ion chamber, while the dose area product (DAP) was measured with a DAP meter, attached to the tube head. Thermoluminescent dosimeters (TLDs) were used to derive the occupational dose to the personnel, and also to monitor the surface dose on the gonads of some of the patients.
Results The mean operation time was 101 (48–240) min, with a mean fluoroscopic time of 72 seconds and a mean DAP value of 75 cGy·cm2. The surface dose to the gonads of the patients was less than 8.8 mGy during any procedure, and thus cannot be considered to be a contraindication for the use of this technique. Occupational dose differed substantially between members of the operating personnel, the maximum dose recorded being to the operator of the fluoroscopic equipment (0.11 mSv).
Interpretation Our findings underscore the care required by the primary operator not to exceed the dose constraint of 10 mSv per year. The rest of the operating personnel, although they do not receive very high doses, should focus on the dose optimization of the technique.
Coronary stenting is the primary means of coronary revascularization. There are two basic techniques of stent implantation: stenting with balloon predilatation of stenosis and stenting without predilatation (direct stenting). Limiting the time that a fluoroscope is activated and by appropriately managing the intensity of the applied radiation, the operator limits radiation in the environment, and this saves the exposure to the patient and all personnel in the room. Nephrotoxicity is one of the most important properties of radiocontrast. The smaller amount of radiocontrast used also provides multiple positive effects, primarily regarding the periprocedural risk for the patients with the reduced renal function. The goal of the study was to compare fluoroscopy time, the amount of radiocontrast, and expenses of material used in direct stenting and in stenting with predilatation.
Patients and methods
In a prospective study, 70 patients with coronary disease were randomized to direct stenting, or stenting with predilatation.
Fluoroscopy time and radiocontrast use were significantly reduced in the directly stented patients in comparison to the patients stented with balloon-predilatation. The study showed a significant reduction of expenses when using a direct stenting method in comparison to stenting with predilatation.
If the operator predicts that the procedure can be performed using direct stenting, he is encouraged to do so. Direct stenting is recommended for all percutaneous coronary interventions when appropriate conditions have been met. If direct stenting has been unsuccessful, the procedure can be converted to predilatation.
coronary stenting; balloon predilatation; percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty; expenses
The author measured levels of fluoroscopic radiation exposure to the surgeon's body based on the different beam directions during kyphoplasty.
This is an observational study. A series of 84 patients (96 vertebral bodies) were treated with kyphoplasty over one year. The patients were divided into four groups based on the horizontal and vertical directions of the X-Ray beams. We measured radiation exposure with the seven dosimetry badges which were worn by the surgeon in each group (total of 28 badges). Twenty-four procedures were measured in each group. Cumulative dose and dose rates were compared between groups.
Fluoroscopic radiation is received by the operator in real-time for approximately 50% (half) of the operation time. Thyroid protectors and lead aprons can block radiation almost completely. The largest dose was received in the chest irrespective of beam directions. The lowest level of radiation were received when X-ray tube was away from the surgeon and beneath the bed (dose rate of head, neck, chest, abdomen and knee : 0.2986, 0.2828, 0.9711, 0.8977, 0.8168 mSv, respectively). The radiation differences between each group were approximately 2.7-10 folds.
When fluoroscopic guided-KP is performed, the X-Ray tube should be positioned on the opposite side of the operator and below the table, otherwise the received radiation to the surgeon's body would be 2.7-10 times higher than such condition.
Kyphoplasty; Radiation exposure; Fluoroscopic guidance; Dosimetry; Radiation safety; Fluoroscopy
X-ray fluoroscopy is widely used for image guidance during cardiac intervention. However, radiation dose in these procedures can be high, and this is a significant concern, particularly in pediatric applications. Pediatrics procedures are in general much more complex than those performed on adults and thus are on average four to eight times longer1. Furthermore, children can undergo up to 10 fluoroscopic procedures by the age of 10, and have been shown to have a three-fold higher risk of developing fatal cancer throughout their life than the general population2,3.
We have shown that radiation dose can be significantly reduced in adult cardiac procedures by using our scanning beam digital x-ray (SBDX) system4-- a fluoroscopic imaging system that employs an inverse imaging geometry5,6 (Figure 1, Movie 1 and Figure 2). Instead of a single focal spot and an extended detector as used in conventional systems, our approach utilizes an extended X-ray source with multiple focal spots focused on a small detector. Our X-ray source consists of a scanning electron beam sequentially illuminating up to 9,000 focal spot positions. Each focal spot projects a small portion of the imaging volume onto the detector. In contrast to a conventional system where the final image is directly projected onto the detector, the SBDX uses a dedicated algorithm to reconstruct the final image from the 9,000 detector images.
For pediatric applications, dose savings with the SBDX system are expected to be smaller than in adult procedures. However, the SBDX system allows for additional dose savings by implementing an electronic adaptive exposure technique. Key to this method is the multi-beam scanning technique of the SBDX system: rather than exposing every part of the image with the same radiation dose, we can dynamically vary the exposure depending on the opacity of the region exposed. Therefore, we can significantly reduce exposure in radiolucent areas and maintain exposure in more opaque regions. In our current implementation, the adaptive exposure requires user interaction (Figure 3). However, in the future, the adaptive exposure will be real time and fully automatic.
We have performed experiments with an anthropomorphic phantom and compared measured radiation dose with and without adaptive exposure using a dose area product (DAP) meter. In the experiment presented here, we find a dose reduction of 30%.
Precise tunnel positioning is crucial for success in anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstruction. The use of intra-operative fluoroscopy has been shown to improve the accuracy of tunnel placement. Although radiation exposure is a concern, we lack information on the radiation risk to patients undergoing fluoroscopically-assisted ACL reconstruction with a standard C-arm. The aim of our study was to determine the mean radiation doses received by our patients.
PATIENTS AND METHODS
Radiation doses were recorded for 18 months between 1 April 2007 and 30 September 2008 for 58 consecutive patients undergoing ACL reconstruction assisted by intra-operative fluoroscopy. Dose area product (DAP) values were used to calculate the entrance skin dose (ESD), an indicator of potential skin damage and the effective dose (ED), an indicator of long-term cancer risk, for each patient.
The median age of 58 patients included in data analysis was 28 years (range, 14–52 years), of whom 44 were male (76%). The mean ESD during intra-operative fluoroscopy was 0.0015 ± 0.0029 Gy. The mean ED was 0.001 ± 0.002 mSv. No results exceeded the threshold of 2 Gy for skin damage, and the life-time risk of developing new cancer due to intra-operative fluoroscopy is less than 0.0001%.
Radiation doses administered during fluoroscopically-assisted ACL reconstruction were safe and do not represent a contra-indication to the procedure.
Anterior cruciate ligament; Reconstruction; Intra-operative fluoroscopy; Radiation dose; Radiation risk
Orthopedic surgeons depend on the intraoperative use of fluoroscopy to facilitate procedures across all subspecialties. The versatility of the C-arm fluoroscope allows acquisition of nearly any radiographic view. This versatility, however, creates the opportunity for difficulty in communication between surgeon and radiation technologist. Poor communication leads to delays, frustration and increased exposure to ionizing radiation. There is currently no standard terminology employed by surgeons and technologists with regards to direction of the fluoroscope.
The investigation consisted of a web-based survey in 2 parts. Part 1 was administered to the membership of the Canadian Orthopedic Association, part 2 to the membership of the Canadian Association of Medical Radiation Technologists. The survey consisted of open-ended or multiple-choice questions examining experience with the C-arm fluoroscope and the terminology preferred by both orthopedic surgeons and radiation technologists.
The survey revealed tremendous inconsistency in language used by orthopedic surgeons and radiation technologists. It also revealed that many radiation technologists were inexperienced in operating the fluoroscope.
Adoption of a common language has been demonstrated to increase efficiency in performing defined tasks with the fluoroscope. We offer a potential system to facilitate communication based on current terminology used among Canadian orthopedic surgeons and radiation technologists.
The increasing use of fluoroscopy-based surgical procedures and the associated exposure to radiation raise questions regarding potential risks for patients and operating room personnel. Computer-assisted technologies can help to reduce the emission of radiation; the effect on the patient’s dose for the three-dimensional (3-D)-based technologies has not yet been evaluated.
We determined the effective and organ dose in dorsal spinal fusion and percutaneous transsacral screw stabilization during conventional fluoroscopy-assisted and computer-navigated procedures.
Patients and Methods
We recorded the dose and duration of radiation from fluoroscopy in 20 patients, with single vertebra fractures of the lumbar spine, who underwent posterior stabilization with and without the use of a navigation system and 20 patients with navigated percutaneous transsacral screw stabilization for sacroiliac joint injuries. For the conventional iliosacral joint operations, the duration of radiation was estimated retrospectively in two cases and further determined from the literature. Dose measurements were performed with a male phantom; the phantom was equipped with thermoluminescence dosimeters.
The effective dose in conventional spine surgery using 2-D fluoroscopy was more than 12-fold greater than in navigated operations. For the sacroiliac joint, the effective dose was nearly fivefold greater for nonnavigated operations.
Compared with conventional fluoroscopy, the patient’s effective dose can be reduced by 3-D computer-assisted spinal and pelvic surgery.
Level of Evidence
Level II, therapeutic study. See Guidelines for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.