Radioactive Tissues Sectioning And Storage

Tissue removed from a radioactive body may contain some of the radioisotope. Outside the primary organ (defined as the organ where the radioactive material localizes), tissues would contain negligible amounts of radioactive material and would not present a major hazard. However, precautions should include minimal handling time, double gloving, and wearing splash protection and protective gowns to prevent contamination of personnel. If death occurred within 2 d of administration of the radioactive material, the primary organ—for example, the thyroid in 131I cases, should be manipulated with long-

handled tools in order to minimize contact as much as possible. Formalin jars with tissue samples from a patient who received 131I therapy read 5 mrem/h on the surface of the jars (10).

The choice of containers for storage of radioactive tissue depends on the activity in the sample or organ. Most samples are rather harmless; organs and tissues with high radioactivity ("primary organs") require leaded containers available from a local radiation safety professional. Radioactivity will diminish with storage time, eventually eliminating the need for lead containers.

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