Derived from ancient Greek words for short distance (brachy) and treatment (therapy), brachytherapy is the use of ionizing radiation much closer to the body than external beam radiation. As a result, it can limit the amount of radiation exposure to normal parts of the body. While less commonly used, brachytherapy can be helpful to either complement or replace external beam radiation therapy.
Many men are candidates for prostate seed implants (low dose rate, LDR) as an alternative to external beam radiation therapy or surgery. Sometimes prostate seed implants are used as a “boost” following external beam radiotherapy. This one-time procedure is less invasive than surgery without the inconvenience of daily radiation treatments for several weeks. This form of radiation treatment is also called permanent intersitial brachytherapy in which small radioactive seeds are placed into the prostate gland in the operating room and then release radiation gradually over a period of several months.
Using real-time imaging and treatment planning with a transrectal ultrasound, these radioactive seeds can very accurately be placed to ensure effective treatment. With more than 1000 prostate seed implants performed, we have a great deal of experience with this convenient, minimally invasive approach in the management of prostate cancer.
For the right person, prostate seed implant can offer equally good cancer control as radical prostatectomy or external beam radiation therapy.
Currently, Radiation Oncology Associates performs prostate seed implants at the following locations:
High dose rate (HDR) brachytherapy is an alternative form of brachytherapy in which a temporary implant is placed for delivery of high doses or radiotherapy over a short period of time. A radioactive seed with high activity is temporarily inserted into an empty catheter or tube to deliver radiation therapy safely to a certain part of the body, sparing more normal tissue than external beam radiation therapy but without leaving any radioactivity in your body once the procedure is completed. This has been particularly helpful in treating certain diseases such as uterine and cervical cancers and has also allowed women needing an implant to have it done as an outpatient rather than be admitted to the hospital.
For selected women, accelerated partial breast irradiation (APBI) with HDR brachytherapy may be an option that will reduce the time required to complete radiation treatment. Prostate brachytherapy can also be delivered utilizing high dose rate brachytherapy.
Currently, Radiation Oncology Associates performs HDR brachytherapy at the following locations: