Also called a seed implant, brachytherapy is a treatment using radioactive seeds placed directly inside of the prostate gland during a 1 to 1 ½ hour outpatient procedure. This treatment is sometimes used alone for low risk patients or combined with five weeks of IG-IMRT for patients with higher risk prostate cancers. Most often, a permanent radioactive seed is used and this is referred to as LDR, or low dose rate brachytherapy. Some centers also use temporary HDR, or high dose rate brachytherapy, which requires either hospitalization or two separate procedures
What can I expect with brachytherapy?
The procedure will be done under ultrasound guidance while you are asleep. The seeds target cancerous tissue while sparing healthy tissue. Seeds contain iodine or palladium and are about four millimeters long and less than a millimeter in diameter. They give off radiation continually for weeks or months, depending on the dose and material, and stay in place safely after they are inactive.
What are the side effects of brachytherapy?
Men who undergo brachytherapy may experience more urinary irritation than men who receive external beam radiation. They may also need a catheter for urination for a time after the procedure. Though the seeds will not make you radioactive, it is recommended that you sleep alone, avoid sex, and do not let children sit on your lap while the seeds are active.
Physicians who perform Brachytherapy:
Robert Brookland, MD
Richard Hudes, MD