Type of Interventional Pain Procedure, Body Weight, and Presence of Spinal Pathology are Determinants of the Level of Radiation Exposure for Fluoroscopically Guided Pain Procedures

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Abstract:In the recent years new technology has led to the development of a bewildering array of imaging procedures. Yet, conventional radiography remains one of the most used tools to diagnose and to aid procedural interventions. Fluoroscopy guidance facilitates targeted drug delivery or radiofrequency directly to the area of pathology, a benefit that has to be balanced against the risks of radiation exposure. In this prospective observational survey of routine practice, dose area product (DAP) and screening time (ST) were recorded in 127 consecutive patients undergoing fluoroscopically guided spinal procedures along with other probable measures of potentially greater radiation exposure such as weight, type of spinal pathology, the ease of recognition of the anatomical landmarks, and the radiographic quality of the image in terms of contrast and graininess. The mean ST was 34 ± 27 seconds (range, 3 to 218 seconds), the mean DAP was 1.18 ± 1.08 Gy cm2 (range, 0.023 to 6.82 seconds). A correlation between weight and DAP was confirmed (r = 0.230, P < 0.05, Spearman's correlation coefficient). Patients with spinal pathology (n = 33) had higher radiation exposure than those without (DAP median = 0.85, U = 978.00, P < 0.005, r = −0.28, Mann–Whitney test). The DAP values obtained compare favourably with the recommended doses for radiographs and other procedures, although they generally exceed the values for a chest X-ray. ▪

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