Radiation exposure risk to the surgeon during operative angiography

Georges R. Ramalanjaona, William H. Pearce*, E. Russell Ritenour

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Intraoperative angiography has become an essential adjunct to reconstructive vascular surgery. Therefore, radiation exposure and its potential risks to the performing surgeon need to be known. To study this, we designed experimental and clinical tests quantifying the radiation exposure to the surgeon during different intraoperative angiograms. Radiation exposure to various parts of the surgeon's body was quantified by thermoluminescence dosimetry. During each exposure a surgeon standing one foot from the x-ray tube received an absorbed dose equivalent to 0.24 to 1.4 millirems, which is about half that of an intraoperative cholangiogram. With 5000 millirems considered the maximum permissible dose, this would imply that an upper limit of about 3500 intraoperative angiograms each year (68 each week) could be performed safely. Comparatively, abdominal angiography carried the most significant risk (p = 0.01) and peripheral angiography was the least hazardous. Fluoroscopy increased radiation exposure more than four times that of nonfluoroscopic procedures (p = 0.05). The surgeon's extremities received the greatest dose, followed by the eyes and neck, suggesting the need for individual monitoring devices for those parts to be worn by surgeons who perform operative angiograms more frequently than average. Our study indicates that the radiation dose received by the surgeon during operative angiography, especially that of peripheral vessels, is minimal. Operative arteriography is not only a simple and readily available diagnostic tool, but it is quite a safe procedure if applied correctly.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)224-228
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Vascular Surgery
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1986

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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