Radioimmunodetection (RAID) is a technique which uses radiolabelled antibodies to visualize tumours, taking advantage of antigens preferentially expressed by malignant tissue. Gamma radiation emitted by radioisotopes can be detected using an external gamma camera (RAID), or intraoperatively with a hand-held Geiger counter (radioimmunoguided surgery, RIGS). RAID has significant inherent problems. Many have been overcome as a result of nearly 50 years of research, and others still remain as obstacles precluding the routine use of the technique. This article summarizes the technical limitations of RAID and outlines the relative successes of the methods evolved to overcome them.