Yitrium-90 Radiosynovectomy

Yitrium-90 radiosynovectomy is a treatment for painful swollen joints that are affected by arthritis and joint disease, most commonly knees. The aim is to destroy the tissue causing the pain and swelling.

Queensland Medical Orchestra & Choir

Pain in an affected joint is caused by swelling. The swelling is caused by too much fluid in the joint space. This fluid is produced by the synovium in the joint. Yitrium-90 emits beta radiation. Once it is injected into the joint, it destroys the synovium and therefore stops the swelling and elevates the pain associated with it.


  • If you have a painful, swollen joint, affected by arthritis or other joint disease that has not responded to all other forms of treatment.

    A radiosynovectomy is a relatively non-invasive alternative to a surgical synovectomy.

    The recovery time is quicker and it is an alternative for patients who are not suitable for a surgical procedure.

  • Yitrium90 is a very safe option. The radiation has enough energy to destroy the synovium in the joint but can only travel short distances preventing healthy tissue from being effected.

  • The pain and swelling may increase for a few weeks following the injection before it starts to take effect.

    Possible side effects, rarely seen, include the skin around the joint reacting to the radiation injected, causing a radiation dermatitis. Even more rare is septic arthritis where the injected joint becomes infected.

  • The technologist will come and collect you from the waiting room, they will ask you to change into a gown.

    You will then make yourself comfortable on one of our beds.

    If you are female and of childbearing age, you will be asked to confirm you are not pregnant.

    The doctor will come and see you to discuss the treatment and any concerns.

    The doctor will then administer the yitrium-90 therapy.  This is done by using an ultrasound machine to guide a needle into the joint space.  You will be given a local anaesthetic to numb the area. When the doctor is happy with the position of the needle, they will withdraw some fluid from the joint.

    The yitrium-90, along with a steroid will be injected into the joint space. Once completed the needle will be taken out.

    You are now required to restrict movement on the joint for 4 hours following the injection.

    If your knee is treated it will be placed in an immobilising brace and you will remain on the bed for this time.

    You will be able to eat and drink normally.

  • For 3 days following the injection you need to limit weight bearing by using crutches when necessary and keep the joint immobilised.

    You will be emitting a small amount of radiation, because of this you will need to refrain from seeing pregnant women and infants for 3 days after the injection.

How much will it cost?

Fees for radiology procedures will vary depending on a variety of factors. We will advise you about the cost of your service at the time of booking but if you do have any questions, contact us and one of our team will be happy to help with your query. You can read more about our billing information here.

How do I access my images?

At Queensland X-Ray, we provide our patients with their images and results online. To access your images and results, you’ll need to register for an account when you visit one of our practices. If you’ve already registered, you can access the Patient Portal here.

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