During Business hours
During Non-Business office hours
(406) 237-3700 and ask the switchboard to be connected with the radiologist on call.
What is Yttrium-90 (Y-90) Radiotherapy?
Y-90 Radiotherapy is a special procedure that is done to treat tumors in your liver. In this type of treatment, tiny radioactive beads are injected into the vessels that supply your liver tumor with blood. The tiny beads will stay in the blood vessels around your tumor and allow radiation to reach the tumor(s) directly. Because these beads are delivered directly to your tumor, there is very little effect on the healthy parts of your liver or other tissues around your liver. The beads will put off radiation for about 10 days but they will keep working for several months after they are placed in your liver
How is Y-90 Radiotherapy done?
Y-90 radiotherapy is done by Dr. Christenson in a special procedure room in the radiology department at St. Vincent Healthcare. Treatment with Y-90 Radiotherapy is done in several steps.
Step 1: Mapping: The first step in treatment with Y-90 Radiotherapy is a called a mapping angiogram. The mapping procedure will take about 2-4 hours. Dr. Christenson will place a small plastic tube (called a catheter) into one of the vessels in your groin and direct the catheter to the blood vessels in your liver. Once the catheter reaches your liver, Dr. Christenson will take pictures with x-ray to see how the blood flows to your liver. Based on how the blood flows, Dr. Christenson will be able to tell if Y-90 Radiotherapy will work for you or not. If the procedure will work for you, Dr. Christenson will place small metal wires (coils) in blood vessels that should not get Y-90 Radiation. Dr. Christenson will also inject a special tracer agent into the vessels to map how much tracer enters the tissues around your liver.
After the tracer is injected, you will be taken down to the nuclear medicine department for a scan. The scan will allow Dr. Christenson to see how much of the tracer has left the liver and gone to other organs like your lungs. This information will also be used to determine if you are a good candidate for Y-90 Radiotherapy.
Step 2 – Y-90 Radiotherapy: Once it is decided that you would be a good candidate for Y-90 Radiotherapy, we will order the dose of Y-90 specifically for you. It takes approximately 1-2 weeks for the specific dose of Y-90 to be made for you. We will schedule you for your second procedure when we know your dose of Y-90 will be ready. In the second step of the Y-90 radiotherapy procedure you will again have a catheter placed in a blood vessel in your groin. Dr. Christenson will guide the catheter to your liver. Once the catheter is in place, he will slowly inject the beads through the catheter to your liver. This procedure takes about 1 hour.
Step 3- Additional Y-90 Radiotherapy: Step 3- If Dr. Christenson needs to treat more than one part of your liver we will schedule you for a second procedure. The second procedure can be done 4-6 weeks after Step 2. In the second procedure, Dr. Christenson will deliver more Y-90 Radiotherapy Beads to the other part of your liver.
Special Note: After placement of Y-90 Radiotherapy beads you will need to keep a minimum distance of 3 feet between you and others for 3 days. This may mean that you will need to sleep in a separate bed.
What are the risks of the Y-90 Radiotherapy?
There are some side effects associated with Y-90 Radiotherapy. These side effects may include fatigue, poor appetite, mild abdominal pain, slight fever, and nausea. These symptoms typically go away slowly over 1-2 weeks.