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What is Liver Radioembolization (Y90)?
Your healthcare provider has requested that you undergo radioembolization (Y90) to treat a tumor in your liver. Radioembolization is a combination of radiation therapy and a procedure called embolization. Tiny beads (microspheres) containing a radioactive isotope called yttrium-90 are placed in the blood vessels that feed the tumor. The beads block the blood supply to the tumor and deliver a high dose of radiation to a specific location. This procedure can help slow the growth of the tumor and alleviate symptoms.
How Should I Prepare?
You should not eat or drink anything for six hours prior to your procedure. You may take your medications as directed. Speak to your doctor if you need to adjust your insulin dosing. Prior to your procedure, you should make sure all medications and allergies are updated. If you are on a blood thinner you may be requested to stop that medication for a period of time.
How is the Procedure Performed?
The procedure will be performed by an interventional radiologist, who is a physician with specific training in image-guided procedures. The procedure will be performed under fluoroscopy (x-ray). Intravenous medications may be given to make you more comfortable and relaxed. This is called conscious sedation.
Complete treatment of the liver requires either two or three separate procedures, all performed on separate dates. The first procedure is a planning study to map out the exact configuration of blood vessels going to your liver. The second, and potentially third, procedure involves infusion of the radioactive beads into the liver.
For all procedures, the groin will be cleaned with sterilizing solution and numbing medicine injected into the skin. A small tube (catheter) will then be advanced from the blood vessel in the groin into the blood vessels supplying the liver. X-rye dye is injected to allow pictures of the targeted area to be taken.
If this is one of the therapeutic procedures, the radiation beads will be injected through the catheter directly into the tumor. Over the next 10 days or so radiation is emitted in close proximity to the liver tumor to kill tumor cells
What Should I Expect After the Procedure?
You will be asked to lie flat in bed for a few hours to prevent bleeding complications. If needed, medications will be given to help control any symptoms that you may experience. Most patients go home in the afternoon on the same day that the procedure was performed. You will want to arrange for a ride home from a responsible adult.
You will be requested to limit your contact with other people until the radiation in your body diminishes, and more detailed instructions regarding this will be provided to you. You will also be given prescriptions for medications to be taken at home starting the day following the procedure.
Who Interprets the Results of the Procedure?
The interventional radiologist can advise you on whether the procedure was a technical success following the procedure.