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Intraoperative Radiation Exposure to U.S. Podiatric and Medicine Surgery Residents Annually: How Much Are We Really Getting?

Calvin J. RushingDallas Orthopedic and Shoulder Institute, Sunnyvale, TX.

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Viraj RathnayakeWestside Regional Medical Center, Plantation, FL.

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Tarak AminWestside Regional Medical Center, Plantation, FL.

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Alyssa PhamWestside Regional Medical Center, Plantation, FL.

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Steven M. SpinnerWestside Regional Medical Center, Plantation, FL.

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Izzy Izzy RamaswamyWestside Regional Medical Center, Plantation, FL.

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As the number and complexity of operative techniques taught at U.S. podiatric medicine and surgical residencies (PMSR) with the added credential in reconstructive rearfoot and ankle (RRA) surgery has continued to increase, so to has the use of intraoperative fluoroscopy. The purpose of the present prospective observational pilot study was to quantify and compare the shallow dose equivalent (SDE), deep dose equivalent (DDE), and lens of the eye dose equivalent (LDE) exposures for podiatric medicine and surgery residents at a single PMSR-RRA over 12 consecutive months. Shallow-dose equivalent, DDE, and LDE exposures (in millirems) were measured using Landauer Luxel dosimeters from July of 2018 to July of 2019. Dosimeters were exchanged monthly, and mean monthly/annual SDE, DDE, and LDE exposures were calculated and compared. Overall, residents averaged 19 operative cases per month and 222 per year. More than half (53%) required intraoperative fluoroscopy, for which a mini C-arm was used in most cases. Monthly SDE, DDE, and LDE exposures averaged 7.3, 9.3, and 7.0 mrem, respectively; whereas annual SDE, DDE, and LDE exposures averaged 87.3, 112, and 84 mrem, respectively. No significant monthly (P = 1.0, P = .70, and P = .74) or annual (P = .67, P = .67, and P = .33) differences were identified between residents. The annual SDE, DDE, and LDE for residents at a single PMSR-RRA were well below the recommended dose limits of 50,000 mrem/year (SDE), 5,000 mrem/year (DDE), and 15,000 mrem/year (LDE) set by the National Council on Radiation Protection. However, given that the stochastic effects from low levels of ionizing radiation are cumulative, not well studied long-term, and relate both to the degree and duration of exposure, mini-C arm fluoroscopy, radiation tracking, and use of personal protective equipment provide simple means for residents to reduce any long-term potential for risk.

Corresponding author: Calvin J. Rushing, DPM, Dallas Orthopedic and Shoulder Institute, Sunnyvale, TX 75182. (E-mail: calvin.rushing@mymail.barry.edu)