Attention CHOP clinicians: patient education should be printed and assigned via EPIC's Teaching Library.
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Radioactive Plaque Therapy for Retinoblastoma

These instructions are for Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) patients who receive radioactive plaque therapy for retinoblastoma.

Plaque radiotherapy illustration

Important information:

  • Learn more about retinoblastoma.

  • Radioactive plaque therapy is a way to deliver continuous, concentrated radiation while sparing other parts of the eye.

  • Radioactive "seeds" are placed on a metal shield, called a plaque. This shield is sewn onto the eyeball to make sure the radiation is delivered to the exact location. The eyelid is stitched closed with 1-2 stitches while the shield is on the eye. This shield stays on for 5-7 days. There will be a bandage placed over the shield.

  • Radioactive plaques are used to treat small tumors that recur after other therapies. They are used to treat tumors that are away from the macula. The macula is the central part of the retina that is responsible for vision.

  • For some patients, a side effect of this treatment can be cataracts on the eye that had plaque therapy.

  • You will be asked to make arrangements to stay at a hotel that has been approved by the team. Our social worker can help you plan for this stay.

  • Family and friends over the age of 18 can stay in the hotel room. No one under the age of 18 and anyone who is pregnant or think that they can be pregnant can stay in the room.

Instructions for radioactive plaque therapy:

  • Your child can take a shower or a bath, but only get wet from the neck down to keep the patch dry.

  • Stay in the hotel room and leave only to eat in the hotel restaurant and to go Wills Eye. It is ok to occasionally walk with your child in the hotel hallway to get out of the room.

  • Do not use the pool or go to the gym area.

  • A bandage will be placed over the shield. If the bandage falls off, it is not an emergency. Do not remove the bandage.

  • While the plaque is on your child:

    • They should not lift anything heavy.

    • Do not remove the radiation safety bracelet.

    • Your child should sleep with the treated eye off of the pillow.

  • You will be given prescriptions from the Wills Eye team to treat immediate side effects. Your prescriptions can be filled at the Jefferson Pharmacy, CHOP Main Hospital retail pharmacy or CVS at 908 Walnut Street.

    • Give Tylenol® with codeine for pain after the procedure.

    • Give Zofran® (ondansetron) for nausea and vomiting from the anesthesia.

    • Give Ativan® (lorazepam) for anxiety.

Oncology Contact Information

8:30am-5:00pm, 7 days a week (including holidays)
215-590-2299 (select Phone Nurse)

Every day after 5:00pm, all patients
215-590-1000, ask the hospital operator for the Oncology Fellow on-call


Reviewed on March 1, 2022, by Amish Shah, MD

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