Direct Anterior Hip Replacement Does Not Pose Undue Radiation Exposure Risk to the Patient or Surgeon

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Abstract

Background:

The fluoroscopically assisted direct anterior approach for total hip arthroplasty has gained interest in recent years. One of the perceived advantages is the use of fluoroscopy to aid in the positioning of implants. The purpose of this study was to measure the radiation entrance surface dose to anatomically important areas of both patients and surgeons during direct anterior approach total hip arthroplasty.

Methods:

Radiation dosimetry badges were placed at the sternal notch and pubic symphysis of 50 patients undergoing direct anterior approach total hip arthroplasty. Badges were also placed on the surgeons outside of their lead aprons at the level of the thyroid. Three fellowship-trained arthroplasty surgeons were involved in the study. Radiation exposure of each badge was measured after each case (surgeon and patient). The cumulative dose was also calculated for the surgeons. To limit surgeon bias during the study, 50 consecutive direct anterior approach total hip arthroplasties that occurred prior to this study were analyzed for total fluoroscopic dose and time and served as a control group.

Results:

Forty-five subjects met study criteria. In the study group, 1 patient had a detectable thyroid exposure equal to 1 mrem. Seven patients had a detectable radiation entrance surface dose at the pubic symphysis (range, 1 to 7 mrem). No radiation entrance surface dose was detectable in the remaining 44 patients at the sternal notch and 38 patients at the pubic symphysis. Surgeons in the study did not experience a detectable radiation entrance surface dose. The mean fluoroscopic time was 13.72 seconds (range, 6.7 to 28.7 seconds). The mean patient radiation exposure was 178 mrem (range, 54 to 526 mrem).

Conclusions:

This study demonstrates that during direct anterior approach total hip arthroplasty, the mean patient entrance surface dose at the pubic symphysis and the sternal notch is not detectable in most patients. The mean patient exposure in this study during direct anterior approach total hip arthroplasty was 178 mrem, which is less than a single pelvic radiograph (600 mrem). No surgeon in our study demonstrated a detectable radiation entrance surface dose. Our data suggest that direct anterior approach total hip arthroplasty typically results in a negligible or very low dose of absorbed radiation exposure to the patient and the surgeon.

Clinical Relevance:

We believe this study to have clinical relevance because both patients and surgeons have evidence that utilization of fluoroscopy during direct anterior total hip replacement places both parties at a relatively low radiation exposure risk.

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