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What Is Y-90 Therapy?

Y-90 therapy, also known as selective internal radiation therapy or SIRT, is a minimally invasive, image-guided approach treating 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. A Y-90 procedure typically takes about two hours, but requires an overnight stay for observation.

Mass General patient Liz Greer did not have many treatment options for her rare tissue cancer. Learn how she found hope through Y-90 in this video.

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How to Prepare for Y-90 Therapy

  • Pre-Admission Testing - We will help schedule your appointment. Before coming in for Y-90, we will draw your blood to check various readings.
  • When to Arrive - Arrival time varies according to procedure. We will tell you what time to arrive when you make your appointment.
  • 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 - Please do not eat solid foods, candy or gum after 10:00 pm on the night before your procedure. We may need to reschedule your procedure if you do.
  • Drinking - Please drink only clear liquids after 10:00 pm on the night before your procedure. Stay hydrated by drinking one or two tall glasses every one to two hours while you are awake. Please stop drinking anything three hours before your procedure.
  • Medications - Please take your regularly scheduled medications with a sip of water. If you are currently taking any anti-coagulation medications, such as Coumadin®, Eliquis® or Plavix®, please call your referring physician for holding instructions at least five days before your procedure.
  • Procedure Sedation - This exam uses sedation to help you feel comfortable during your procedure. You can eat and drink as you normally would the day before your procedure. Starting at 10:00 pm on the night before your procedure, please stop eating completely and only drink liquids you can see through.
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What to Expect After Y-90 Therapy

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.

Videos about Y-90 Therapy

Mass General interventional radiologists share more information about Y-90, including how the procedure works and what happens before, during and after the procedure.