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Radiation from Kyphoplasty Hazardous to Surgeon

It is recommended that surgeons wear lead-lined glasses, keep hands away from radiation beam

MONDAY, April 14 (HealthDay News) -- Surgeons who perform kyphoplasty frequently may be exposed to radiation doses in unprotected areas, such as the hands and eyes, that exceed occupational safety limits, according to an article published in the Journal of Spinal Disorders & Techniques in April.

Thomas E. Mroz, M.D., of the Cleveland Clinic Foundation in Ohio, and colleagues measured the radiation exposure to surgeons and patients during kyphoplasty for osteoporotic or cancer-related vertebral fractures. Dosimeter badges were placed on each of the 27 patients, and badges were placed on each surgeon both underneath and outside the lead shields. A thermoluminescent ring dosimeter was also worn on the hand.

Mean exposure time was 5.7 minutes per vertebra for a single level, 3.9 minutes/vertebra for a 2 level, and 2.9 minutes/vertebra for a 3 level kyphoplasty, the investigators report. Radiation exposure to patients fell well within safety parameters. Exposure to the unprotected eyes and hands of surgeons was 0.271 mSv/vertebra, and 1.744 mSv/vertebra, respectively. The authors calculate that at this rate the occupational exposure limit would be reached after performing kyphoplasties on 300 levels annually.

"It is clear that the total exposure dose to the hands and the eyes could exceed the occupational exposure limit without protection, and eye and hand exposure should be prevented by the appropriate shielding (e.g., lead glasses) or modifying the procedure during kyphoplasty," the authors conclude.

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