Treatment with 90Yttrium (90Y) is most beneficial for knee joints with recurrent effusions (fluid collections) which respond temporarily to steroid injections. It is also a suitable treatment for pigmented villonodular synovitis which is a destructive disease of the synovium (the joint lining).
The injection is very similar to a steroid injection, but due to the radiation, extra care has to be taken to protect against leaks onto skin or clothing (staff present will wear protective aprons, shoe covers and gloves). The treatment is delivered as a liquid injection into the affected joint. 90Y works by treating the inner lining layer of the joint, where the excessive fluid is produced, without causing damage to outer tissues (the radiation only affects tissues within 3mm of the dose). The effects of the treatment can sometimes be permanent, but re-growth can occur within weeks, months or even years. In this case it is possible to have further yttrium injections.
If you have been referred for 90Y treatment, your appointment will be held in the Nuclear Medicine department at QAH. You will not be able to drive yourself home after the injection, so you will need to arrange to be collected. Loose clothing is advised to allow a splint to be fitted to your leg. Shorts and skirts are best. The injection will only be given if at least a few drops of fluid can be aspirated from the joint (ensures the injection is in the right place). A brisk walk in the morning will help a little fluid to collect.