Disinfecting the Probes and Sterile Operation

If the gamma probe system is to be used e.g. during surgery, the probe must be adapted to the hygienic requirements.

Following sterilisation procedures are recommended:

  • Securing the sterility by using a sterile cover. That can be done by a sterile sleeve, e.g. latex sleeves from ultra-sonic diagnostics or latex sleeves for endoscopic cameras before using the probe in surgery. The whole probe and the data cord should be covered too in this way before intra operative application. Pay attention to maintenance of sterility while covering the probe with the sterile cover.This method requires the least efforts.
  • By means of the ethylene oxide gas treatment (EtO) method and the formaldehyde method all hand-held probes including the data cords can be sterilised.
  • The recent sterilisation procedure by low temperature plasma (T< 60°C) is recommended especially for laparoscopic probes, but can be applied to all other probes too.
  • Collimator sleeves of probes CXS-OP-SP and CXS-OP-FP (FlexProbe) can be removed from the probe handle and steam sterilised separately (150°C steam at 4 bar, autoclave). In this case probe cable and handle have to be prepared for intra operative use by coating with sterile protective cover. The connection between sterilized collimator sleeve and sterile cover has to be masked with sterile adherent tape.

Attention: the sterilized collimator sleeves have to be complete dry after sterilization, otherwise the remaining humidity inside can destroy the scintillation crystal in the detector head.

  • If laparoscopic probes CXS-OP-LP-* are used as commonly without protective cover, they have to be sterilised completely. In this case, low temperature plasma sterilisation, as mentioned before, is the appropriate procedure.

Additionally, the sterility of the laparoscopic probes can also be maintained by a complete sterile cover. For applications through a trocar you need one with 1 mm more inner diameter.

  • The collimator sleeve of Beta probe CXS-OP-BP also can be sterilised separately, but only by thelow temperature plasma method or the ethylene oxide gas treatment (EtO) method. Note that temperature > 70°C can cause detachment of the sapphire window.
  • The control unit must be positioned in the non-sterile area of the operation room in any case. Attention: Other sterilisation procedures than described above are not suitable for the probes! Disregarding the given instructions may cause destruction of the probes.

Cleaning the Probes CXS-OP-SP, -FP and CXS-OP-BP

All probes can be wiped off with damp tissues using conventional disinfecting agents. Cleaning alcohols can be used as well as common disinfecting liquids. Never dip the probes or the probe tip into the liquids, don’t pour liquids over them!

For cleaning and disinfecting procedures the collimator sleeve of the probes CXS-OP-SP, CXS-OP-FP, and CXS-OP-BP, can be removed from the handle. If the collimator sleeve is removed, sensitive parts of the probe are exposed and easily accessible. In this open state the probes cannot withstand mechanical stress or chemical load, which may cause serious damages on CXS-OP-**** probes.

After removing the collimator sleeve it is recommended to replace it immediately with the provided protection plastic sleeve, in order to protect the probe against mechanical damage. For cleaning procedures alcohols and common disinfection agents can be used as well, acids, leaches and other solvents may damage the probes.

IMPORTANT NOTE! The probe head, which is normally protected by the collimator sleeve, shall NOT be disinfected BY LIQUIDS. In the event you have no other choice than to use liquids, please obey following procedure:

Mask the front plane of the exposed probe tip watertight e.g. by TESA adhesive tape, then hold the probe firmly head downwards. Now clean carefully with a wet tissue or cotton-wool tip. Note that this procedure won't fully guarantee prevention of possible damages!

Following only the recommended cleaning procedure, only the collimator sleeve will be sterilised. BEFORE SCREWING IT ON TO THE PROBE THE COLLIMATOR SLEEVE HAS TO BE DRIED AND 100% MOIST-FREE! It is recommended to use several collimator sleeves to maintain the systems usability in situations, when one collimator sleeve undergoes the sterilisation procedure.

Cleaning the Laparoscopic Probes CXS-OP-LP-(0, 45, 90)

Laparoscopic probes have solid casing and therefore are completely closed at the head. Thus

  • they may be wiped off with common disinfectants,
  • they may be immersed into disinfectant liquids up till the handle region.

Attention: Never immerse the back part of the probe with the probe cable joint, soaking liquids may damage the probe! Prior to use, the sterilized laparoscopic probes have to be dried completely.