What to Expect from Liver Brachytherapy

Day of the Procedure Instructions

  • Wear loose, comfortable clothing.
  • Do not eat for a specific amount of time as recommended by your doctor.
  • Take only the drugs your doctor told you to take with a small sip of water.
  • Bring someone with you to drive you home as you will not be allowed to drive after the procedure.

After Procedure

  • Most patients will go home within 24 hours.
  • You will have to lie flat for several hours to ensure that bleeding does not occur.
  • Plan to rest over the next few days because you will be tired than usual as the radiation does its job.


Since active radiation has been injected into your body, you will have to take some precautions.
For the next seven to ten days, please take these precautions for your and others' safety:

  • No bus or public transportation
  • No close contact with others for two hours or more
  • Sleep in bed alone
  • Do not have contact with children, pets or anyone who is pregnant

Recovery: what to expect in the next few weeks

Some patients report having flu-like symptoms and a slight fever. Patients may also experience abdominal or stomach cramping. Most complained of fatigue.

Liver Brachytherapy Q&A

What does the procedure involve?

This outpatient procedure is done using local anesthesia. Using fluoroscopy to visualize the region, the interventional radiologist guides the catheter to the hepatic artery, one of two blood vessels that supplies blood to the liver.

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.

How long is the procedure?

The procedure generally takes about one hour, with another six hours of lying flat during recovery.

What is the recovery time?

Most patients will be fatigued for a few days and may experience flu-like symptoms and run a fever.

How do I know if the radiation is working to destroy the tumors?

Your oncologist will perform imaging tests at regular intervals to see if the tumors are shrinking. The procedure may be repeated in some cases if imaging shows that the treatment is effective and if there is still access through the hepatic artery.