Safe radiation exposure of medical personnel by using simple methods of radioprotection while administering 131I-lipiodol therapy for hepatocellular carcinoma

Nucl Med Commun. 2003 Jun;24(6):671-8. doi: 10.1097/00006231-200306000-00009.


The intra-arterial administration of 131I-lipiodol is a therapeutic approach increasingly used for the treatment of inoperable hepatocellular carcinomas. This technique has even become the reference treatment for hepatocellular carcinomas with portal thrombosis and is the only effective treatment to reduce the risk of recurrence among patients who could benefit from surgical operation. Currently, few data have been published concerning the levels of exposure for personnel carrying out this type of treatment. We undertook a dosimetric study targeted mainly on the exposure of the person performing the injection of 131I-lipiodol to show that this treatment can be carried out with an exposure at the extremities distinctly lower than the regulatory annual threshold by using simple means of radioprotection. The point of puncture was carried out at the level of left femoral artery, the preparation and injection of the therapeutic dose was carried out extemporaneously by the nuclear medicine specialist using a 10 ml syringe (for an injected volume of 4 ml) fitted with an adapted syringe protector. The injection was carried out as rapidly as possible under scopic control while avoiding reflux, with compression carried out by the radiologist. This study comprises 52 intra-arterial injections of 131I-lipiodol (2016+/-92 MBq). For the nuclear medicine specialists, 52 measurements were carried out at the level of the thorax and 41 on the fingers. For the radiologists, 22 measurements were carried out at the level of the thorax and six on their index fingers; nine measurements were carried out at the level of the thorax for the technologist and four at the level of the thorax for the stretcher bearer. For the nuclear medicine specialists, the average dose received at the level of the fingers varies between 140 and 443 microSv (according to the fingers) and the average dose at the thorax is 17 microSv. For the radiologists, the average dose received is 215 microSv at the level of the fingers and 15 microSv at the thorax. These results show that the administration of high therapeutic activities of 131I-lipiodol can be carried out for the exposed personnel with a dose at the level of the fingers much lower than the European regulatory limit of 500 mSv.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / radiotherapy*
  • Film Dosimetry
  • Fingers
  • Health Personnel
  • Humans
  • Injections, Intra-Arterial / instrumentation
  • Injections, Intra-Arterial / methods
  • Iodine Radioisotopes / administration & dosage*
  • Iodine Radioisotopes / adverse effects
  • Iodine Radioisotopes / analysis*
  • Iodized Oil / administration & dosage
  • Iodized Oil / adverse effects
  • Iodized Oil / analysis
  • Liver Neoplasms / radiotherapy
  • Nuclear Medicine
  • Occupational Exposure / prevention & control*
  • Radiation Dosage*
  • Radiation Injuries / etiology
  • Radiation Injuries / prevention & control*
  • Radiation Protection / instrumentation*
  • Radiation Protection / methods*
  • Radiopharmaceuticals / administration & dosage
  • Radiopharmaceuticals / adverse effects
  • Radiopharmaceuticals / analysis
  • Risk Assessment / methods
  • Thermoluminescent Dosimetry
  • Thorax


  • Iodine Radioisotopes
  • Radiopharmaceuticals
  • Iodized Oil