Background: Mini-c-arm fluoroscopy has become an important resource to the orthopaedic surgeon. Exposure of the orthopaedic surgical team to radiation during standard large-c-arm fluoroscopy has been well studied; however, little is known about the amount of exposure to which a surgical team is subjected with the use of mini-c-arm fluoroscopy. Moreover, there is controversy regarding the use of protective measures with mini-c-arm fluoroscopy.
Methods: We evaluated the use of mini-c-arm fluoroscopy during a simulated surgical procedure to quantify the relative radiation doses at various locations in the operative field. A standard calibrated mini-c-arm fluoroscope was used to image a phantom upper extremity with thirteen radiation dosimeters placed at various distances and angulations to detect radiation exposure.
Results: After 155 sequential fluoroscopy exposures, totaling 300.2 seconds of imaging time, only the sensor placed in a direct line with the imaging beam recorded a substantial amount of measurable radiation exposure.
Conclusions: The surgical team is exposed to minimal radiation during routine use of mini-c-arm fluoroscopy, except when they are in the direct path of the radiation beam.