Appropriate procedures for the safe handling and pathologic examination of technetium-99m–labelled specimens

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TECHNETIUM 99M MAY NOW BE USED TO IDENTIFY sentinel nodes for surgical excision in a growing number of cancer sites. The pathology specimens of these sentinel nodes and of any injected tumoural sites are radioactive. Consequently, specific clinical and laboratory procedures must be developed to handle these specimens safely. It is recommended that specimens containing the injection site should be quarantined for a period to permit decay of radioactivity. This quarantine does delay the reporting of pathology results to surgeons, oncologists and other clinicians, but it does not adversely affect final patient management.

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