Intraoperative C-arm fluoroscopy and low-dose O-arm are both reasonable means to assist in screw placement for idiopathic scoliosis surgery. Both using pediatric low-dose O-arm settings and minimizing the number of radiographs during C-arm fluoroscopy guidance decrease patient radiation exposure and its deleterious biological effect that may be associated with cancer risk. We hypothesized that the radiation dose for C-arm-guided fluoroscopy is no less than low-dose O-arm scanning for placement of pedicle screws.Methods:
A multicenter matched-control cohort study of 28 patients in total was conducted. Fourteen patients who underwent O-arm-guided pedicle screw insertion for spinal fusion surgery in 1 institution were matched to another 14 patients who underwent C-arm fluoroscopy guidance in the other institution in terms of the age of surgery, body weight, and number of imaged spine levels. The total effective dose was compared. A low-dose pediatric protocol was used for all O-arm scans with an effective dose of 0.65 mSv per scan. The effective dose of C-arm fluoroscopy was determined using anthropomorphic phantoms that represented the thoracic and lumbar spine in anteroposterior and lateral views, respectively. The clinical outcome and complications of all patients were documented.Results:
The mean total effective dose for the O-arm group was approximately 4 times higher than that of the C-arm group (P<0.0001). The effective dose for the C-arm patients had high variability based on fluoroscopy time and did not correlate with the number of imaged spine levels or body weight. The effective dose of 1 low-dose pediatric O-arm scan approximated 85 seconds of the C-arm fluoroscopy time. All patients had satisfactory clinical outcomes without major complications that required returning to the operating room.Conclusions:
Radiation exposure required for O-arm scans can be higher than that required for C-arm fluoroscopy, but it depends on fluoroscopy time. Inclusion of more medical centers and surgeons will better account for the variability of C-arm dose due to distinct patient characteristics, surgeon’s preference, and individual institution’s protocol.Level of Evidence:
Level III–case-control study.