90Y Contamination in the Interventional Radiology Suite: VARSKIN Estimation of Skin and Eye Injury and Review of Mitigation Strategies

J Nucl Med Technol. 2023 Dec 5;51(4):290-295. doi: 10.2967/jnmt.122.265108.


Our objective was to demonstrate, through computer simulations, radiation exposure levels from a 90Y contamination event during radioembolization procedures to calculate the radiation doses from various contamination scenarios. We also provide reasonable safety protocols to prevent contamination and minimize radiation exposure during decontamination. Methods: Simulations were performed using the computer code VARSKIN+, version 1.0, to determine the amount of radiation exposure resulting from different contamination scenarios. Results: The annual radiation dose limit to the skin and the lens of the eye was exceeded within 23 s of exposure to a 44-MBq droplet. Double layers of surgical gloves and level 3 gowns provided some attenuation of radiation from 90Y contamination by reducing the dose rate by 39% and 44%, respectively. Two layers of surgical gloves offered the best ratio of radiation protection without compromising dexterity. Conclusion: This study demonstrated that radiation exposures during 90Y spills or contamination events can be considerable. Interventional radiology and nuclear medicine personnel must be mindful of the risks, follow strategies to prevent spills, and be familiar with recommended decontamination procedures for spills in the interventional radiology suite.

Keywords: 90Y; Y90; contamination; occupational radiation exposure; radiation safety; radioembolization.

MeSH terms

  • Eye Injuries*
  • Humans
  • Occupational Exposure* / analysis
  • Occupational Exposure* / prevention & control
  • Radiation Dosage
  • Radiation Exposure* / analysis
  • Radiation Protection* / methods
  • Radiology, Interventional
  • Skin