Radiation exposure to surgical staff during F-18-FDG-guided cancer surgery

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Abstract

Purpose

High-energy gamma probes have recently become commercially available, developed for 18F-FDG probe-guided surgery. The radiation received by the staff in the operating room might limit the use of it, but has never been determined. We therefore wanted to measure the absorbed staff doses at operations where patients had received a preoperative injection of 18F-FDG.

Methods

Thrity-four patients with different cancers (breast cancer, melanoma, gastrointestinal cancers, respectively) were operated. At every operation the surgeon was monitored with a TLD tablet on his finger of the operating hand and a TLD tablet on the abdomen. The surgeon and anaesthesiologist were also monitored using electronic dosimeters placed in the trousers lining at 25 operations.

Results

The dose rate to the surgeon’s abdominal wall varied between 7.5–13.2 μSv/h, depending on tumour location. The doses to the anaesthesiologists and the finger doses to the surgeon were much lower. About 350–400 MBq, i.e. ca. eight times higher activities than those used in the present study are supposed to be necessary for guiding surgery. It can be calculated from the body doses measured that a surgeon can perform between 150–260 h of surgery without exceeding permissible limits for professional workers.

Conclusions

The radiation load to the operating staff will generally be so small that it does not present any limitation for FDG-guided surgery. However, it is recommended to monitor the surgical staff considering that the surgeon may be exposed to other radiation sources, and since the staff often includes women of child-bearing age.