Brachytherapy is a procedure to implant radioactive seeds (pellets) into the prostate gland to kill prostate cancer cells. They may give off high or low amounts of radiation.
Brachytherapy takes 30 minutes or more, depending on the type of therapy you have. Before the procedure, you will be given medicine so that you do not feel pain. You may receive:
After you receive anesthesia:
Types of brachytherapy
Brachytherapy is often used for men with a small prostate cancer that is found early and is slow-growing. Brachytherapy has fewer complications and side effects than standard radiation therapy. You will also need fewer visits with the doctor.
Risks of any anesthesia are:
Risks of any surgery are:
Risks of this procedure are:
Tell your doctor or nurse what medicines you are taking. These include medicines, supplements, or herbs you bought without a prescription.
Before this procedure:
On the day of the procedure:
You may be sleepy and have mild pain and tenderness after the procedure.
After an outpatient procedure, you can go home as soon as the anesthesia wears off. In rare cases, you will need to spend 1 - 2 days in the hospital. If you stay in the hospital, your visitors will need to follow special radiation safety precautions.
If you have a permanent implant, your doctor may tell you to limit the amount of time you spend around children and women who are pregnant. After a few weeks to months, the radiation is gone and will not cause any harm. Because of this, there is no need to take out the seeds.
Most people remain cancer-free or their cancer is in good control for many years after this treatment. Urinary and rectal symptoms may last for months.
Implant therapy - prostate cancer; Radioactive seed placement; Internal radiation therapy - prostate
D'Amico AV, Crook JM, Beard CJ, DeWeese TL, Hurwitz M, Kaplan ID. Radiation therapy for prostate cancer. In: Wein AJ, Kavoussi LR, Novick AC, et al., eds. Campbell-Walsh Urology. 10th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2011:chap 104.
Nelson WG, Carter HB. DeWeese TL, Eisenberger MA. Prostate cancer. In: Abeloff MD, Armitage JO, Niederhuber JE, Kastan MB, McKena WG, eds. Clinical Oncology. 4th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Churchill-Livingstone; 2008:chap 88.
Thompson I, Thrasher JB, Aus G. Guideline for the Management of Clinically Localized Prostate Cancer: 2007 Update. Reaffirmed 2009. Available at http://www.auanet.org/content/clinical-practice-guidelines/clinical-guidelines/main-reports/proscan07/content.pdf. Accessed December 13, 2012
Updated by: Louis S. Liou, MD, PhD, Chief of Urology, Cambridge Health Alliance, Visiting Assistant Professor of Surgery, Harvard Medical School. Also reviewed by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc., Editorial Team: David Zieve, MD, MHA, David R. Eltz, Stephanie Slon, and Nissi Wang.
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