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Identifying and managing the risks of medical ionizing radiation in endourology
Department of Urology, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA
Feb  2018 (Vol.  25, Issue  1, Pages( 9154 - 9160)
PMID: 29524969


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    The risks of exposure to medical ionizing radiation is of increasing concern both among medical professionals and the general public. Patients with nephrolithiasis are exposed to high levels of ionizing radiation through both diagnostic and therapeutic modalities. Endourologists who perform a high-volume of fluoroscopy guided procedures are also exposed to significant quantities of ionizing radiation. The combination of judicious use of radiation-based imaging modalities, application of new imaging techniques such as ultra-low dose computed tomography (CT) scan, and modifying use of current technology such as increasing ultrasound and pulsed fluoroscopy utilization offers the possibility of significantly reducing radiation exposure. We present a review of the literature regarding the risks of medical ionizing radiation to patients and surgeons as it pertains to the field of endourology and interventions that can be performed to limit this exposure.


    A review of the current state of the literature was performed using MEDLINE and PubMed. Interventions designed to limit patient and surgeon radiation exposure were identified and analyzed. Summaries of the data were compiled and synthesized in the body of the text.


    While no level 1 evidence exists demonstrating the risk of secondary malignancy with radiation exposure, the preponderance of evidence suggests a dose and age dependent increase in malignancy risk from ionizing radiation. Patients with nephrolithiasis were exposed to an average effective dose of 37mSv over a 2 year period. Multiple evidence-based interventions to limit patient and surgeon radiation exposure and associated risk were identified.


    Current evidence suggest an age and dose dependent risk of secondary malignancy from ionizing radiation. Urologists must act in accordance with ALARA principles to safely manage nephrolithiasis while minimizing radiation exposure.