High Dose Rate Brachytherapy
High Dose Rate Brachytherapy involves placing a radioactive source in or near the tumor itself, thereby delivering a localized, highly precise dose of radiation. Given on an outpatient basis, “HDR” can be used to treat different types of cancers, including lung, gynecologic, breast, esophageal and prostate.
After removal of the tumor, a small, liquid-filled balloon is placed in the cavity that remains. Then, twice a day for five days, treatment is administered by sliding a tiny radioactive seed into the center of the balloon. In just a few minutes, the exact amount of radiation is delivered.
Prostate Seeding Brachytherapy
Prostate Seeding Brachytherapy can be used as an alternative to prostate surgery or external beam radiation therapy for early stage prostate cancer. The technique involves performing a minor outpatient procedure to implant tiny radioactive seeds directly into the prostate gland. Ultrasound images of the prostate are used to reconstruct a computer model of the prostate and plan the location of each seed. The seeds consist of radioactive iodine enclosed in small titanium cylinders. Each seed is approximately the size of a grain of rice. The seeds emit continuous, precisely targeted radiation that kills cancer cells while minimizing damage to surrounding tissue. The seeds gradually lose their radioactivity and remain harmlessly in place.
The advantage of this procedure is that it can be done with only two visits to the hospital. One visit to obtain the ultrasound images, which typically takes less than one hour, and does not require the use of an anesthetic. The other visit takes place a few weeks later and involves the seed implantation in the operating room. The patient typically can go home from the operating room session later the same day.