What Is Selective Internal Radiation Therapy (SIRT)?

SIRT is a minimally invasive, image-guided therapy used to treat malignant lesions in the liver. The procedure uses a catheter to deliver tiny radioactive beads into the blood vessels that lead directly to the tumor. This allows doctors to treat tumors that are not accessible using conventional surgery or radiation treatments. SIRT typically takes about two hours, but requires an overnight stay for observation.

How to Prepare for SIRT

  • Pre-Admission Testing - We will help schedule your appointment. Before coming in for SIRT, we will draw your blood to check various readings.
  • Contrast - This procedure involves IV contrast. Contrast helps us see the inside of your body more clearly while performing this minimally invasive therapy. Please let us know before coming in if you have a known allergy to IV contrast.
  • Eating and Drinking - Please do not eat solid foods, candy, gum, or drink liquids after midnight on the night before your procedure. We may not be able to perform the procedure if you eat or drink prior to your SIRT appointment.
  • Medications - Before your procedure, make sure to tell us the names of any medicines you are currently taking. You may need to stop taking certain medicines and we may also prescribe medicine for you to take a few days before the procedure.
  • When to Arrive - Someone from within Mass General Interventional Radiology will tell you when to arrive when you make your appointment.
  • Procedure Preparation - One of our nurses will insert an IV line to give you sedation medications to make you more comfortable during the procedure. We will also attach you to a cardiac monitor and we will place a catheter to collect your urine. Our nursing team will also connect you to a blood pressure monitor. We will clean and shave the incision area in the groin and you will receive medication to numb the area.

What to Expect After SIRT

After the minimally invasive procedure, you will be admitted to the hospital overnight so we can monitor your condition. Once you return home, you should take it easy for a few days and avoid any strenuous activity for 10 days. Most people return to a normal level of activity in one to three weeks.