Intraoperative fluoroscopy is a ubiquitous tool in orthopaedic surgery. However, many orthopaedic surgeons and radiology technologists are not taught standard terminology to communicate with one another. Breakdown of communication leads to inefficiencies. Simulation studies have demonstrated that a common language for C-arm movements may reduce time to capture the desired images and number of radiographs required. Our objective was to investigate the effect of a standardized language protocol for intraoperative C-arm fluoroscopy on communication as perceived by the surgeon and radiology technologists.
Our study intervention was the implementation of a common C-arm fluoroscopy terminology education protocol. To evaluate the efficacy of this protocol, a survey was administered to orthopaedic surgeons and radiology technologists after procedures involving the use of intraoperative fluoroscopy. Study end points were measured using a 5-point Likert scale and included effectiveness of communication, need for obtaining repeat radiographs, need to correct the C-arm position, and confusion noted during surgery. This survey was administered before and after the study intervention.
The study intervention resulted in a statistically significant improvement in the mean perceived quality of intraoperative communication between the surgeon and the radiology technologist (0.398 [0.072, 0.725], P = 0.017). There was also a reported decrease in confusion in the operating room (−0.572 [−0.880, −0.263], P < 0.001), movement correction of the C-arm fluoroscope (−0.592 [−0.936, −0.248], P = 0.001), and need for repeat radiographs (−0.782 [−1.158, −0.406], P < 0.001) after the implementation of a standardized fluoroscopy language.
A standardized fluoroscopy language protocol improves intraoperative communication between orthopaedic surgeons and radiology technologists.