Implant therapy - prostate cancer; Radioactive seed placement; Internal radiation therapy - prostate; High dose radiation (HDR)
Brachytherapy is a procedure to implant radioactive seeds (pellets) into the prostate gland to kill prostate cancer cells. The seeds 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 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 health care provider.
Risks of any anesthesia are:
Risks of any surgery are:
Risks of this procedure are:
Tell your provider 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 to 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 provider 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 men with small, slow-growing prostate cancer remain cancer-free or their cancer is in good control for many years after this treatment. Urinary and rectal symptoms may last for months or years.
Nelson WG, Antonarakis ES, Carter HB, De Marzo AM, DeWeese TL. Prostate cancer. In: Niederhuber JE, Armitage JO, Kastan MB, Doroshow JH, Tepper JE, eds. Abeloff's Clinical Oncology. 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 81.
Phillips R, Hazell S, Song DY. Radiation therapy for prostate cancer. In: Partin AW, Dmochowski RR, Kavoussi LR, Peters CA, eds. Campbell-Walsh-Wein Urology. 12th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2021:chap 157.
US National Library of Medicine, PubMed website. PDQ Adult Treatment Editorial Board. Prostate cancer treatment (PDQ): health professional version. Bethesda, MD: National Cancer Institute. www.cancer.gov/types/prostate/hp/prostate-treatment-pdq. Updated February 12, 2021. Accessed July 9, 2021.BACK TO TOP
Review Date: 1/10/2021
Reviewed By: Kelly L. Stratton, MD, FACS, Associate Professor, Department of Urology, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, Oklahoma City, OK. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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