Interventional fluoroscopy is a leading source of occupational ionizing radiation exposure for medical personnel. For example, orthopedic surgeons represent one occupation where the risk of exposure is large. This occupational hazard is the result of a cumulative dose of radiation over time. Adverse health effects induced by low-dose radiation exposure can arise from daily procedures performed over an entire career. Many of the radiation-induced effects that may develop are transient erythema, permanent epilation, dry desquamation, dermal necrosis and telangiectasia; these effects have occurred on the skin of fingers of interventionalists. Nailfold videocapillaroscopy (NVC) is a non-invasive technique useful for early detection of radiation-induced effects on microcirculation of fingernails. Here we report on a case of an orthopedic surgeon exposed to radiation for 30 years during his professional career. He performed NVC before and after the end of his professional career, and regression of the microcirculatory abnormalities were documented after cessation of radiation exposure. To our knowledge, this is the first published work in which the regression of chronic low-dose radiation-induced alterations of finger microvessels have been described and documented.
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Vol. 193 • No. 3