We measured the scattered radiation received by theatre staff, using high-sensitivity electronic personal dosimeters, during fixation of extracapsular fractures of the neck of the femur by dynamic hip screw. The dose received was correlated with that received by the patient, and the distance from the source of radiation. A scintillation detector and a water-filled model were used to define a map of the dose rate of scattered radiation in a standard operating theatre during surgery. Beyond two metres from the source of radiation, the scattered dose received was consistently low, while within the operating distance that received by staff was significant for both lateral and posteroanterior (PA) projections.
The routine use of lead aprons outside the 2 m zone may be unnecessary. Within that zone it is recommended that lead aprons be worn and that thyroid shields are available for the surgeon and nursing assistants.