Eric Grenier, MD, DPT; Dave Tennent, MD; Jean Patzkowski, MD; Joseph Hsu, MD; and Anthony Johnson, MD
Do Routine Radiographs Obtained at Initial Outpatient Postoperative Visit Change Management?
Routine postoperative radiographs are commonly obtained at the initial postoperative visit. The purpose of this study was to demonstrate the clinical utility of routine postoperative radiographs and quantify the radiation exposure and cost to the health care system. All orthopaedic surgeries performed during 2007 at a level I trauma center were retrospectively analyzed. Surgical procedures that were likely to require follow-up radiographs were included. Analysis demonstrated 878 procedures with 471 procedures
(54%) receiving initial postoperative radiographs. Routine radiographs were performed in 455 (96.6%) procedures with 4/455 (0.879%) resulting in a change in management. Nonroutine radiographs were performed in 16 (3.40%) procedures with 2/16 (12.5%) triggering a change in management. Subjects receiving radiographs at the initial postoperative visit obtained a mean of 2.54 radiographs per procedure with a mean exposure of 0.199 mSv with a median cost of $29.98 per radiographic series in 2013 Medicare reimbursement dollars. (Journal of Surgical Orthopaedic Advances 26(3):143–147, 2017) Key words: cost utility, postoperative, radiographs