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Balloon-Catheter Internal Radiation: What to Expect

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In balloon-catheter internal radiation (the MammoSite system), a special tube, called a catheter, with a balloon on the end is placed in the area of the breast where the lumpectomy was done. The balloon-catheter can be placed either during the lumpectomy surgery or during a short procedure in a surgeon’s office soon after the lumpectomy. The catheter comes out through a little hole in the skin. The balloon is filled with fluid to hold the balloon-catheter snugly in place.

Balloon-catheter radiation is usually given twice a day for 5 days. During each treatment, a machine places a radioactive seed into center of the balloon for up to 10 minutes. The seed is then removed and you are free to leave the treatment center. You do not remain radioactive after the seeds are removed. When the final treatment is done, the balloon is removed through the hole in the skin.

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