Radiation exposure to orthopaedic registrars in the Pietermaritzburg Metropolitan Complex
Keywords:radiation safety, registrar, orthopaedic training
INTRODUCTION: Modern orthopaedic surgery increasingly involves the use of fluoroscopic imaging in theatre. This has led to an increase in radiation exposure to the orthopaedic surgeon and other theatre staff. There is very little research as to which orthopaedic subspecialty may lead to higher exposures. This study aims to demonstrate whether radiation exposure levels in orthopaedic registrars in the Pietermaritzburg Complex are within safety limits and also to determine which subspecialty rotations lead to increased exposure levels.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: A retrospective quantitative observational study analysed the dosimeter readings of 20 registrars over a one-year period. Dosimeter readings were also analysed per subspecialty rotation, namely orthopaedic trauma, spinal surgery, arthroplasty, ortho-paediatrics, upper limb surgery, and tumour sepsis and reconstruction.
RESULTS: No registrar was found to have a dosimeter reading exceeding the International Commission on Radiological Protection guidelines. Rotations in which registrars received measureable readings were orthopaedic trauma, upper limb surgery, spinal surgery and arthroplasty.
CONCLUSION: Trauma rotations appeared to produce to highest radiation exposure readings, although these were still within international safety limits. Knowledge of radiation safety, staff education and safety measures to limit any unnecessary exposure should be employed.