Selective Internal Radiation Therapy (SIRT) is a highly specialized technique used to treat liver cancers that cannot be removed with surgery or other techniques. 
The tumours to be treated by SIRT will have been diagnosed and located previously by other forms of radiology such as CT Angiogram, and Nuclear Medicine scans of the liver.
SIR-Spheres are microscopic radioactive particles of resin that are placed via a catheter into the smallest blood vessels inside or close to tumours to accurately deliver a therapeutic radiation dose.

Before your procedure

What to bring

  • Your referral form
  • Any relevant previous imaging
  • Your Medicare card and any concession cards


A referral from your doctor or medical specialist, and an appointment is required for this procedure which can only be performed at a Lake Imaging facility within a hospital.

You will have a number of tests before the therapy. These are usually a CT angiogram of your liver and blood tests, followed by a workup day which includes an angiogram and a nuclear scan of the liver to determine the radiation dosage and procedures required.

Your SIRT treatment will normally be scheduled to take place one to two weeks after the pre-therapy tests.

During your procedure

What to expect during my procedure

After admission to hospital, the Cath lab team will prepare you for the procedure, including changing into an examination gown and receiving sedation. The interventional radiologist will insert a catheter into an artery in the groin and moves the catheter precisely into the liver arteries. This procedure may take an hour or more. The SIR-Spheres are then slowly injected through the catheter to lodge in the tumour-affected areas.

After the catheter is removed, you will be transported to the imaging department of the hospital for further scans to confirm correct positioning of the SIR-Spheres. You will then return to the ward to rest overnight before going home.

Risks and side effects

As with any form of radiation therapy, there can be some side effects. These are quite variable and may include a short period of abdominal pain, some nausea, and mild fever. There are a range of options to treat or minimize these effects. In rare cases, some SIR-Spheres may inadvertently effect surrounding organs and cause some inflammation.

If you are worried or concerned about having a SIRT Procedure you should discuss this with your referring doctor or medical specialist before coming for your examination.

If you think you may be pregnant, please inform our Nuclear Medicine team before your examination commences.

Who will perform and report my examination

SIRT procedures conducted by Lake Imaging involve an experienced Interventional Radiologist who will perform the catheterization. The SIR-Spheres delivery is performed or supervised by a Nuclear Medicine Physician or Radiologist.  The radiologist and nuclear medicine physician will be assisted by qualified Cath lab staff, radiographers and nuclear medicine technologists.

After your procedure

What to expect after my procedure

Following your SIRT procedure, you will spend the night in hospital to recover and be monitored.  Many patients experience abdominal pain and/or nausea which normally subside after a short time and with medication. Some patients will develop a mild fever lasting up to a week and fatigue which may last several weeks.

How do I receive my results?

Your treating doctor will discuss the therapy and further action while you are in hospital. Your referring doctor or medical specialist will receive a full report of all imaging and the SIRT treatment within 48 hours.