Critical Device Gamma Probe

Guidelines e.g. the Center for Disease Control “Guideline for disinfection and sterilization in Healthcare facilities” state that such probes should be purchased as single-use sterile devices, or multi-use probes should be sterilized for each procedure Figure 1a [1]. Infection prevention is essential in order to ensure safe operation procedures for the patients. The situation is similar to that of intraoperative use of ultrasound probes [2]. A wide range of gamma probe systems is available for SLN detection; however, all models share the same hygienic handicap. A proper hygiene, handling and disinfection of gamma probes is essential for proper functionality and avoidance of potential cross-contaminations which might endanger the patient`s health. Unfortunately, most probes operate with high-voltage current and thus steam sterilization, ethylen-diosxide, hydrogen peroxide gas plasma or liquid chemical sterilants cannot be used because they destroy the probe ́s electrical detection system [3]. Therefore each surgical unit has to build its own concept for intraoperative probe handling; we have no established standard so far and there are no published surveys evaluating the potential gamma probe cross-contamination risks. In order to assess the status quo in Germany, we conducted a questionnaire-based study via the German Society for Dermatosurgery (DGDC) network in 2015. Thirty-eight dermatosurgery units returned our questionnaire designed to assess the hygienic details regarding intraoperative usage of gamma probes as well as contamination risk.

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