What is the role of nuclear medicine in breast biopsy with needle localization?

Updated: Dec 28, 2015
  • Author: William Teh, MBChB, FRCR; more...
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Nuclear medicine study was originally used for sentinel lymph node biopsy (SLNB). Colloidal albumin labeled with technetium-99m (99m Tc) is injected directly into the lesion under stereotactic or ultrasonographic guidance. [13]

The accuracy of isotope placement is checked with scintigraphy. Excision biopsy is then performed by using a gamma probe. After excision, the excised lesion and the cavity are checked for radioactivity, and the specimen is radiographed to ensure the radiographic adequacy of the excision. Results from a study of 67 consecutive patients showed complete removal of the lesion in 99.5% of them. [16] Thus, this technique is accurate and at least comparable to conventional wire localization.

Radiation exposure

Measured radioactive doses to the breast (0.03 ± 0.02 mGy/MBq) and to the surgeon's hand (7.5 ± 5.0 µSv/h) appear to be negligible. [16]

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