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Brachytherapy

The Queen’s Medical Center Urology Services performs brachytherapy, a form of internal radiation used to treat prostate cancer. Small radiation sources, commonly called seeds, about the size of a grain of rice, are permanently inserted into the prostate. This treatment usually involves two procedures called a Volume Study and Radiation Seed Implantation.

Volume Study

Several weeks before the seeds are implanted, a volume study is performed, which lets doctors know the exact shape and size of the prostate.

  1. The urethra, the passage that drains the bladder, is filled with sterile lubricating jelly, which helps locate the exact position of the prostate using sound wave images.
  2. The ultrasound probe is then placed in the rectum to view and measure the prostate.
  3. The measurement will indicate how many radiation seeds are needed and where they should be placed.

This outpatient procedure allows you to return home the same day.

Radiation Seed Implantation

The second procedure before the Brachytherapy is the radiation seed implantation.

  1. Patients are given anesthesia and an ultrasound probe is placed into the rectum again.
  2. The probe allows the doctor to see the prostate and the radiation seeds as they are implanted.
  3. The radiation seeds are implanted through a needle inserted through the perineum, the skin between the scrotum and the rectum.

You will usually be discharged to return home on the same day after the anesthesia wears off.

High Dose Radiation (HDR) Brachytherapy

High Dose Radiation (HDR) Brachytherapy is a temporary radioactive seed implantation procedure, which requires you to stay in the hospital for several days.

  1. While you are under anesthesia, hollow needles are placed in the perineum and remain there for several days.
  2. The radiation seeds are inserted through the needles for short periods of time each day for several days.
  3. When the radiation dose is completed, the needles are removed and you can be discharged from the hospital.