Liver Brachytherapy

WakeMed is one of the few locations in North Carolina to offer innovative liver brachytherapy to treat patients fighting primary and metastatic liver cancer. This minimally invasive technique offers palliative treatment for patients that can improve survival and enhance quality of life.

Tiny radioactive beads are delivered directly to the source of the cancer, where they emit radiation to help destroy the blood supply to the nearby tumor or tumors while preserving adjacent healthy tissue. Patients who have not had success with chemotherapy or are not able to have surgery are candidates for this life-extending therapy.

Prior to treatment, a patient undergoes a CT scan to determine the proper dose of radiation to induce into the liver. The procedure, performed as an outpatient procedure at WakeMed Raleigh Campus, is comprised of two components – embolization and brachytherapy.

The interventional radiologist, working with the patient’s oncologist, makes a tiny incision in the patient’s upper thigh and places a catheter into the femoral artery. Using fluoroscopy to visualize the impacted area, the radiologist guides the catheter to the hepatic artery, one of two blood vessels that supply blood to the liver. Since this artery is the primary source of blood flow to the region, it can deliver radioactive beads directly to the source.

The catheter is threaded into the hepatic artery branch that feeds the tumors and injects microspheres into the blood supply where they become embedded in the tumors and deliver continuous radiation for 14 days. A scan will be completed to show the location of the microspheres.

Learn What to Expect from Liver Brachytherapy