Occupational ionizing radiation-induced skin injury among orthopedic surgeons: A clinical survey

J Orthop Sci. 2022 Jan;27(1):266-271. doi: 10.1016/j.jos.2020.11.008. Epub 2020 Dec 19.


Background: This study aimed to assess orthopedic surgeons' attitudes and behaviors toward occupational radiation exposure and investigate the prevalence of occupational radiation-induced skin injury among orthopedic surgeons. Similarly, risk factors for the presence of radiation-induced skin injury were investigated.

Methods: Overall, 108 orthopedic surgeons were administered self-reported questionnaires about occupational radiation exposure, and their hands were then photographed. Their fields of expertise were classified into spine, arthroplasty, sports medicine, hand, oncology, rheumatoid arthritis, pediatric orthopedic, and resident. Dermatologists evaluated the surgeons' skin conditions and classified into 3 grades of injury: grade 0, no clinical symptoms; grade 1, careful observation required; and grade 2, detailed examination required. Logistic regression analysis was performed to investigate the factors related to the presence of radiation-induced skin injury. Crude and adjusted logistic regression analysis using the backward stepwise selection method was similarly conducted. Receiver operating characteristic curve (ROC) analysis was performed to estimate the predictive power of exposure time, occupational period, and accumulated annual exposure time for radiation-induced skin injury.

Results: In total, 93.5% of the surgeons were careful about occupational radiation exposure, of which 76.8% used a dosimeter. Skin changes in the hands were self-reported by 42.5% of the surgeons, and radiation-induced skin injury was diagnosed in 31.4%. The accuracy of the self-reported skin changes was 100% for grade 2 and 61.5% for grade 1. Adjusted regression analysis showed that dermatologists' diagnosis-related factors were self-reported skin changes (odds ratio [OR] 3.1) and spine surgeons (OR 3.2). ROC analysis demonstrated that an occupational period >21 years and an accumulated exposure time >6696 min were considered risk factors, with ORs of 4.07 and 5.99, respectively.

Conclusions: Orthopedic surgeons, particularly spine surgeons, should be regularly examined by dermatologists early in their careers for early detection of radiation-induced skin injury on the hands.

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Hand
  • Humans
  • Occupational Exposure* / adverse effects
  • Orthopedic Surgeons*
  • Radiation, Ionizing
  • Surveys and Questionnaires