Gamma probe

A gamma probe is a handheld device containing a scintillation counter, for intraoperative use following injection of a radionuclide, to locate sentinel lymph nodes by their radioactivity.[1] It is used primarily for sentinel lymph node mapping and parathyroid surgery. Gamma probes are also used for RSL (radioactive seed localization), to locate small and non-palpable breast lesions.[2][3]:243

Gamma probe
Medical diagnostics
A gamma probe
Purposelocate sentinel lymph nodes


The sentinel node market experienced high growth in the early and mid 90's starting with melanoma sentinel node surgical search and breast cancer sentinel node staging; both are currently considered standards of care.[4] The use of a radioactive tracer, rather than a coloured dye, was proposed in 1984.[5][6]

Clinical use

To locate the draining lymph nodes or sentinel lymph node from a breast cancer tumour a Technetium-99m based radiopharmaceutical is common. This may be a nanocolloid or sestamibi.[7] Although imaging with a gamma camera may also take place, the idea of a small gamma probe is that it can be used to identify lymph nodes (or other sites) with uptake at a much higher resolution, during an operation. The probe may be collimated to further restrict the field of detection.[8][9]

See also


  1. "Gamma Probe". Human Health Campus. IAEA. Retrieved 11 January 2018.
  2. Langhans, Linnea; Levin Klausen, Thomas; Filtenborg Tvedskov, Tove; Vejborg, Ilse; Kroman, Niels; Hesse, Birger (11 August 2016). "Radioguided Surgery for Localization of Nonpalpable Breast Lesions A Mini-Review". Current Radiopharmaceuticals. 9 (2): 114–120. doi:10.2174/1874471009999160625105340.
  3. Mariani, Giuliano; Giuliano, Armando E.; Strauss, H. William (2010). Radioguided Surgery. Heidelberg: Springer. ISBN 9780387383279.
  4. Mansel, Robert E. (8 July 2009). "History, Present Status and Future of Sentinel Node Biopsy in Breast Cancer: The Mary Béves Lecture". Acta Oncologica. 39 (3): 265–268. doi:10.1080/028418600750012998. PMID 10987219.
  5. Torchilin, Vladimir P. (1995). Handbook of Targeted Delivery of Imaging Agents. CRC Press. p. 242. ISBN 9780849383083.
  6. Heller, Samantha L.; Moy, Linda (2017). Breast Oncology: Techniques, Indications, and Interpretation. Springer. p. 302. ISBN 9783319425634.
  7. Schauer, Alfred; Becker, Wolfgang; Reiser, Maximilian F.; Possinger, Kurt (2005). The Sentinel Lymph Node Concept. Springer Science & Business Media. p. 28. ISBN 9783540263937.
  8. Mariani, Giuliano; Giuliano, Armando E.; Strauss, H. William (2010). Radioguided Surgery. Springer Science & Business Media. p. 22. ISBN 9780387383279.
  9. Dössel, Olaf; Schlegel, Wolfgang C. (2010). World Congress on Medical Physics and Biomedical Engineering September 7 - 12, 2009 Munich, Germany: Vol. 25/III Radiation Protection and Dosimetry, Biological Effects of Radiation. Springer Science & Business Media. p. 54. ISBN 9783642039027.
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