Exposure Of The Surgeon

The total radiation dose received by a surgeon working in a community hospital as a result of sentinel node biopsies in melanoma probably will be minor. In the first place, the incidence of melanoma is far less compared with breast cancer. Second, the time required for excision of the injection site in melanoma is less than for excision of a breast tumor. Moreover, it remains to be established which melanoma patients benefit from sentinel lymphadenectomy [20].

According to the results from the above measurements on phantoms and patients, dose rates to the surgeon's hands will be within the acceptable annual limits. If a surgeon performs sentinel node biopsies for 100 h during a year, with 10 MBq of 99mTc-labeled tracer retained at the injection site, the dose to the skin of the hands will be approximately 1 mSv. This is well below the deterministic annual dose limit for the skin of 50 mSv [15,16].

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