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General Human Use

Reviewed 6/2/16    

     The administration of radioactive materials or radiation to humans can only be done by or under the direct supervision of individuals who hold a valid NY State license to practice medicine, have written approval of the Radiation Safety Committee and, if the use is of an experimental nature, written approval of the Institutional Board For the Protection of Human Subjects (IRB).

      The following policies have been established by the Radiation Safety Committee for the safe use of radioactive materials with patients.


     The following is a list of various radioactive material procedures which patients may undergo. They can be high activity procedures or low activity procedures. They can involve sealed sources or unsealed sources. They can be temporary implants or permanent implants. They can be live loading procedures or after loading procedures. High activities usually involve activities of 30 millicuries or more and are often done for therapeutic reasons. Lower activities, usually 25 millicuries or less, are used for diagnostic purposes. Sealed sources make use of sources sealed in metal seeds or tubes and are inserted by personnel from the Radiation Oncology Division. Unsealed sources usually make use of radioactive material in liquid or capsule form. The radioactivity may be administered orally or by injection. These administrations are usually, but not always, done by Nuclear Medicine personnel. Temporary implants use sealed sources where the radioactivity is placed inside the patient and removed at a later date. Permanent implants are sealed sources with material placed in the patient and left in permanently. After-loading techniques make use of an applicator which does not contain radioactivity initially. The applicator is placed in the patient, then after proper positioning, the radioactive sources are put in the applicator. This procedure results in lower exposures to workers since the placement of the applicator does not involve radioactive materials. Live-loading techniques are techniques which involve the placement of radioactive materials directly in the patient. These techniques should be carried out in a minimum amount of time in order to minimize the radiation dose to personnel.