TheraSphere therapy, also known as radioembolization, uses thousands of tiny glass beads, called microspheres, to deliver radiation directly to cancerous tumors in your liver. These microspheres are as thin as a human hair and are full of a radioactive element that helps fight liver cancer cells.

During the treatment, you will be placed on monitors that measure your blood pressure, pulse, breathing and oxygen level. Next, your doctor will:

  • Inject a small amount of local anesthetic around the groin (femoral) artery
  • Insert a small plastic tube (catheter) into this area, and
  • Position the tip of the tube in the main artery of the liver. A liquid (called contrast) is injected through the tube which makes the liver vessels visible.

After the injection, you may feel a warm flush as the liquid travels through your system. This feeling quickly passes. Then your doctor will take X-ray images that will record your vessels and blood supply to the tumor(s) in your liver. During this time, the doctor will give you instructions on how to breathe and when to hold your breath.

Once the catheter is in place, the microspheres are inserted into the catheter and they travel to the smaller blood vessels of the tumor and block the flow of blood. Then, the microspheres release radiation to help get rid of the cancer cells.

After the TheraSphere treatment, your doctor removes the catheter and applies pressure to the catheter entry site for 5 to 20 minutes to prevent bleeding. You will then need to lie still without bending the leg that the catheter was placed in for 2-6 hours. Your pulse, blood pressure, and oxygen levels will be monitored during this time. You will continue to receive fluids during this time.

Make sure to arrange for someone to drive you home as you may not drive yourself after the procedure. Once you arrive home, it is important to drink plenty of fluids. You should also take it easy and avoid heavy lifting for four days.

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