Radiation Safety in the Use of lodine-125 Sealed Sources for Permanent Implant during Prostate Brachytherapy


A. Germes, R. Herren


Veterans at the VA Medical Center San Francisco were the first veterans in the country to be provided with the latest treatment available for prostate cancer, due to the development and implementation of a model Radiation Safety program which meets and exceeds regulatory requirements from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). Containers with approximately 80 to 170 "rice size" I-125 seeds are taken into custody by Radiation Safety. Radiological controls are maintained during receipt of the container, surveying/wiping containers and custody/documentation of seeds, individual seed counting, loading into seed sterilization and sorting trays, assaying 10% of seeds in a dose calibrator (including calibration seed) and loading of seeds. During early stages of prostate Brachytherapy program, temporary loss of seeds was common; however. Radiation Safety staff on-site during procedure recovered seeds, counted and flashes sterilized seeds. Radiation Safety stores sterilized seeds and is present during surgical implant for accountability and emergency response. Radiation Safety has accountability of all seeds, radiologically controls left over seeds and stores in approved area/container until they are shipped back to manufacturer. Development and implementation of a Quality Management Program to train authorized users of radioactive material and urologists. Training includes sterilization staff, nursing, housekeeping, patients and family members. Release of patient accomplished by Radiation Safety staff with tissue equivalent meter at 3 feet per guidelines of U.S. Regulatory Commission Regulatory Guide 8.39, "Release of Patients Administered Radioactive Materials."


This abstract was presented at the 34th Annual Midyear Meeting, "Radiation Safety and ALARA Considerations for the 21st Century", Poster Session, 2/4/2001 - 2/7/2001, held in Anaheim, CA.

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