SIRT & Y-90 Resin Microspheres: Interventional Radiology Techniques Explained

At ECCO Medical, our endovascular specialists have extensive experience in treating a wide variety of cancers in a non-surgical, minimally invasive way. Something that makes our office-based lab unique; it’s currently the only outpatient clinic in Colorado to offer Y-90 treatment for liver cancer. But, in order to understand “Y-90,” it is necessary to unpack what makes up the procedure and what treatment looks like.

SIRT Procedure

Selective Internal Radiation Therapy (SIRT) is for patients who need a targeted treatment for liver tumors where the liver is the only site of disease or the liver is the major site of the disease. SIRT has no effect on tumors outside the liver. Before treatment can begin, ECCO’s endovascular specialists will prepare the liver by mapping out the procedure in an angiogram and perform initial tests. After determining that results look acceptable to move forward, the prescribed dose of SIR-Spheres Y-90 resin microspheres is determined.

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SIR-Spheres Y-90 Resin Microspheres

These microscopic resin beads contain the radioactive isotope Yttrium-90 (Y-90) and emit radiation to kill cancer cells. Due to their small size (1/3 the width of a human hair) and similar density to blood cells, the microspheres travel easily with the bloodstream directly to the liver tumors. Administered through a small catheter, the Y-90 microspheres enter the liver by way of the femoral or radial artery. These small spheres simultaneously cut off the blood supply and radiate the tumor at the same time. Since the resin microspheres reach the tumors directly, a larger dose of radiation is possible than in more conventional methods.

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Y-90 Benefits

Data shows that when used in tandem with chemotherapy, SIR-Spheres Y-90 microspheres may shrink patients’ liver tumors more than chemo alone. Additional benefits include an improved quality of life and an increase in life expectancy. Most insurances companies generally cover the cost of these microspheres for the treatment of cancer. Plus, at ECCO, our outpatient setting allows you to avoid the hospital and enjoy a more private and comprehensive experience. For more information about side effects, potential complications and commonly asked questions, click here.


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