Background Radiation exposure to patients and personnel remains a major concern in the practice of interventional radiology, with minimal literature available on exposure to the forehead and cranium.
Objective In this study, we measured cranial radiation exposure to the patient, operating interventional neuroradiologist, and circulating nurse during neuroangiographic procedures. We also report the effectiveness of wearing a 0.5 mm lead equivalent cap as protection against radiation scatter.
Design 24 consecutive adult interventional neuroradiology procedures (six interventional, 18 diagnostic) were prospectively studied for cranial radiation exposures in the patient and personnel. Data were collected using electronic detectors and thermoluminescent dosimeters.
Results Mean fluoroscopy time for diagnostic and interventional procedures was 8.48 (SD 2.79) min and 26.80 (SD 6.57) min, respectively. Mean radiation exposure to the operator's head was 0.08 mSv, as measured on the outside of the 0.5 mm lead equivalent protective headgear. This amounts to around 150 mSv/year, far exceeding the current deterministic threshold for the lens of the eye (ie, 20 mSv/year) in high volume centers performing up to five procedures a day. When compared with doses measured on the inside of the protective skullcap, there was a statistically significant reduction in the amount of radiation received by the operator's skull.
Conclusions Our study suggests that a modern neurointerventional suite is safe when equipped with proper protective shields and personal gear. However, cranial exposure is not completely eliminated with existing protective devices and the addition of a protective skullcap eliminates this exposure to both the operator and support staff.
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