Experience using a small field of view gamma camera for intraoperative sentinel lymph node procedures

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Greene, Carmen M.
Hertel, Nolan E.
Aarsvold, John N.
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Staging is critical in the management of cancer. Sentinel lymph node (SLN) biopsy is one method used in the assessment of cancer spread. SLN procedures are standard practice in the management of some cancers although; these procedures have only recently been developed and refined. SLN procedures are commonly used in the management of melanomas and breast cancers in patients with no evidence of metastatic disease on clinical exam. SLN procedures include detection, localization, and assessment of SLNs. The detection/localization components vary in technique and rates of success. The procedures with the least number of detection/localization techniques generally include the use of blue dye or the use of a radiotracer with intraoperative gamma counting. The most complex procedures involve the use of blue dye, the use of a radiotracer with preoperative gamma imaging and preoperative gamma counting, intraoperative gamma counting, or some combination of these techniques. The ideal procedure for SLN would include all the listed techniques however; all facilities do not incorporate the most complete procedure, for different reasons. An investigation using a small FOV (5 in x 5 in) gamma camera intraoperatively for SLN procedures in melanoma and breast cancer patients was performed. A smaller FOV camera is capable of obtaining some of the same information as a conventional gamma camera. It is possible that centers, which do not or are not able to take advantage of preoperative imaging, may find the use of a smaller FOV gamma camera in the operating room useful. The investigation consisted of a total of 41 patients; it was split into two studies, Study 1: melanoma and study 2: breast cancer. The melanoma study found the added use of a smaller FOV camera under the parameters of this study to be minimal. Study 2 was broken into two branches; branch 1: camera/probe/dye and branch 2: probe/dye, for a comparison study. Comparing the two branches did not show the smaller FOV camera to reduce the time spent in the operating room versus using the probe and blue dye.
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