Potential for contamination during removal of radioactive seeds from surgically excised tissue.

K. L. Classic, J. B. Brunette, S. K. Carlson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Scopus citations

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to determine whether the use of a scalpel or electrocautery to remove radioactive sealed sources ("seeds") from surgically excised tissue could damage the seed and cause it to leak its radioactive contents. Attempts were made to cut or burn Oncura Model 6711 non-radioactive seeds while in pig muscle or on a stainless steel plate. Additionally, one active 125I seed was purposely charred using pressure with an electrocautery knife to see whether the casing could be damaged. Electron microscopy scanning was performed on the dummy seeds to determine if the integrity of the metal casing had been compromised. Two types of leak tests were performed on the active seed to verify the presence or absence of loose contamination. The seed casing was not damaged from either use of a scalpel or electrocautery when the seed was in tissue. The active seed was not found to be leaking after applying pressure with an electrocautery knife while the seed was on a stainless steel plate. We conclude that removal of active Model 6711 seeds from surgically excised tissue can be done safely with a scalpel or electrocautery because constant, firm pressure cannot be applied to the seed. This is likely true for seeds made of similar materials.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)S136-139
JournalHealth physics
Volume97
Issue number2 Suppl
StatePublished - Aug 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis

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