Exposure of surgeons-in-training to radiation during intramedullary fixation of femoral shaft fractures
The original publication is available at http://www.samj.org.za
Owing to the continuous turnover of registrars and radiographers, most of the trauma-related orthopaedic surgery in this academic hospital is done by inexperienced surgeons-in-training and the fluoroscopy by junior radiographers. This could result in excessive radiation doses. Calibrated lithium fluoride thermoluminescent chips were secured to various parts of the primary surgeon's body to quantify the radiation dose received during the insertion of an intramedullary nail. Closed intramedullary fixation of 15 fractures of the femur was done with interlocking as necessary. The total average exposure time was 14 minutes 45 seconds per procedure. Distal locking took up 31% of this time. The mean radiation dose to the surgeon's eyes and thyroid was 0,13 mCy and to the dominant hand 2,10 mCy. This would allow the performance of about 350 such procedures per year before the maximum permissible dose level was reached. Recommendations to decrease irradiation dosage are made.
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