High-Dose Rate (HDR) Prostate Seed Implant Treatment
An evolution of traditional brachytherapy, High-Dose Rate Prostate Seed Implant Treatment is a newer protocol of this therapy. Like conventional brachytherapy, a prostate cancer patient has seeds of radioactive material inserted directly into the area of the prostate. This provides direct treatment to affected areas and has been proven extremely effective. Brachytherapy is one of the fastest-growing forms of prostate cancer treatment, and HDR therapy is the newest form of this treatment. Similarly to brachytherapy, radioactive seeds are used; however, the time, duration, and style of the treatment are different.
Before implantation, a template is fitted into the affected area using cutting edge radiology and computer technology. This template features tiny tubs, called catheters. These catheters get placed within the prostate and greater pelvic region. A length of the catheter remains outside the body, which directly connects to the machine, which provides a high dose of radiation. The process of fitting the template is a surgical procedure and requires an overnight stay in the hospital. The template and catheters stay in place for a couple of days, for the duration of the treatment.
Once the template is fitted, a series of radiation treatments are administered. Normally, this involves three procedures. Highly radioactive seeds are pushed into the catheter tubes by a computer controlled device. This device also controls how long each seed remains in the tube, allowing for highly customized and specialized prostate cancer treatment for each patient. As an example, a higher dose and time can be targeted at the tumor itself while the surrounding area gets a lower dose. When treatment is complete, the tubes are removed, and no radioactive material is left behind. Generally, two weeks later, the procedure is repeated. Although surgery is required, the procedure is relatively pain-free.
HDR brachytherapy can be utilized for most cancer patients if required.
Advantages of HDR Prostate Seed Implants Treatment
- The surgery required for implantation is extremely minor, bringing a lower number of complications than traditional surgical treatment.
- When utilizing a mild anesthetic, most patients report that the treatment is relatively painless.
- Since patients can avoid major surgery, the recovery process is substantially shorter and easier.
- The procedure is highly customized and targeted, allowing for radiation dosage to be modified even after the catheters have been placed. The radiation is dispensed to most effectively assist the patient.
- Similar to conventional brachytherapy, the reports of any sexual dysfunction or urinary problems are exceptionally low. The American Cancer Society reports any form of brachytherapy as having the lowest rate of sexual dysfunction of any prostate cancer treatment.
Disadvantages of HDR Prostate Seed Implants Treatment
- The process of implantation is more demanding on the patient because there are multiple steps. The template fitting, catheter placement, and administration of radiation require an overnight hospital stay. As a whole, the process takes about 24 hours.
- Because of the second treatment two weeks after the initial treatment, the procedure can be somewhat time-consuming for patients. Each implantation requires an overnight hospital stay.
- Although surgery is minor and has a relatively low rate of complications, patients may experience some pelvic discomfort over the next several weeks. Regular over-the-counter medication can alleviate these issues.