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Radiation Exposure Still High With Mini-C-Arm Imaging

Last Updated: August 17, 2009.

A mini-C-arm used to image the cervical spine reduces surgeon radiation exposure compared with a standard C-arm but often does not reduce patient exposure, while exposure levels are still substantial, according to a study in the August issue of the Journal of Spinal Disorders & Techniques.

MONDAY, Aug. 17 (HealthDay News) -- A mini-C-arm used to image the cervical spine reduces surgeon radiation exposure compared with a standard C-arm but often does not reduce patient exposure, while exposure levels are still substantial, according to a study in the August issue of the Journal of Spinal Disorders & Techniques.

Brian D. Giordano, M.D., and colleagues from the University of Rochester Medical Center in New York assessed radiation exposure (direct and scatter) to the patient and surgeon while imaging a prepared cadaveric cervical spine specimen, which included the skull, using a mini-C-arm fluoroscope.

The researchers found that surgeon exposure was much lower with the mini-C-arm than reported for the standard C-arm, but was still high. Patient exposure was also high and often similar to that with a standard C-arm. Dosimeters positioned in the same plane recorded a great deal of variability during the same test, highlighting the influence of shape, according to the study.

"Although using a mini-C-arm unit may reduce exposure levels, substantial exposure to both patient and staff is still achievable," Giordano and colleagues conclude. "Use of a mini-C-arm for cervical spine imaging reduces exposure to the surgeon more effectively than to the patient."

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