Fluoroscopic imaging is used at least 50% of the time on an estimated 4-10 million patients in the U.S., using equipment such as a Fluoroscopic C-Arm. Most clinicians favor fluoroscopy because it allows for a more exact needle placement, which ensures the accurate delivery of the injected drug.
However, fluoroscopic guidance as an interventional technique does pose a radiation risk to patients, physicians, and anyone in close proximity. Rest assured, federal regulations place limitations on the maximum output for these C-arms. There are also a variety of techniques and methods for reducing the risk in the private practice setting.
Fluoroscopic C-arm Safety Radiation Exposure – Understanding the Risk:
Fluoroscopic C-Arm usage has the potential for patient radiation. This is a valid and real concern that should be discussed and mitigated. We must always remember that the goal of all interventional radiology procedures is to treat (not harm) patients and improve their overall well-being. Radiation risks that come with interventional procedures should be discussed with patients. This is especially necessary when the possible amount of radiation could be high.
In normal conditions, fluoroscopy delivers roughly 5 rads per minute in the direct beam. The patient’s sizes and measurements can greatly determine the exposure rate. Specifically, the thickness of the patient is a variable that is known to greatly affect the exposure rate. The thicker the patient, the higher the exposure. Even small doses of radiation (1 rad = approximately one chance in 100,000) can cause damage to the DNA.
Time and Distance:
Shielding the patient is not always possible, which means that time and distance become critical in helping reduce the exposure.
- Time: Shorter fluoro times can be achieved when the physician uses intermittent fluoroscopy (as opposed to continuous), and utilizes the image hold capacity.
- Distance: The patient’s exposure increases exponentially the closer he/she is positioned to the x-ray tube. Positioning the patient as far as possible from the x-ray tube, and as close as possible to the image intensifier, can lower exposure. Decreasing x-ray field size can also reduce patient exposure.
Fluoroscopic C-arms, knowledge and education are a must to properly monitor and reduce exposure levels to your patients and staff. Training from a qualified expert is safety procedures and proper imaging techniques are necessary to minimize risk and future liability.
At Pacific Healthcare Imaging, we sell and support pre-owned, used and refurbished c-arms and other diagnostic imaging systems for medical facilities. We sell the highest quality used and refurbished medical imaging equipment, specializing in C-Arms, Mini C-Arms, Portable Ultrasounds.
Contact us at Pacific Healthcare Imaging, and our technicians will help you acquire the best systems for your facility. Our high-quality new, used, and refurbished Mini, Compact, and Full-Size C-Arm machines are available at wholesale cost. Be sure to check out our rental plans as well.