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Alternative NamesImplant therapy - prostate cancer; Radioactive seed placement
Definition Return to top
Brachytherapy is a procedure to implant radioactive "seeds" into the prostate gland to kill prostate cancer cells. Implants may be short-term or permanent. They may give off high or low amounts of radiation.
Description Return to top
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
Why the Procedure is Performed Return to top
Brachytherapy is often used for men with smaller 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 doctor.
See also: Radical prostatectomy
Return to top
Risks for any anesthesia are:
Risks for any surgery are:
Risks for this procedure are:
Rare problems are ulcers (sores) or fistulas (openings) in the rectum, scarring, and narrowing of your urethra (the tube that carries urine from your bladder out of your body).
Before the Procedure Return to top
Always tell your doctor or nurse what drugs you are taking, even drugs, supplements, or herbs you bought without a prescription.
Before this procedure:
On the day of the procedure:
After the Procedure Return to top
After an outpatient therapy procedure, you can return home as soon as the anesthesia wears off. Very rarely, you will need to spend 1 to 2 days in the hospital.
If you have a permanent implant, your doctor may tell you to limit the amount of time you spend around children and women who are pregnant for a while after the procedure.
You may be sleepy and have some mild pain and tenderness after the procedure. If you stay in the hospital, your visitors will need to follow special radiation safety precautions.
Outlook (Prognosis) Return to top
Most people remain cancer-free or have good control of their cancer for many years after this treatment. Some urinary and rectal symptoms may last for months. One common urinary problem is the inability to empty the bladder and you may need to have a Foley catheter (tube) in place to drain the bladder temporarily.
References Return to top
D'Amico AV, Crook J, Beard CJ, DeWeese TL, Hurwitz M, Kaplan I. Radiation therapy for prostate cancer. In: Wein AJ, ed. Campbell-Walsh Urology. 9th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007:chap 100.
Nelson WG, Carter HB. DeWeese TL, Eisenberger MA. Prostate cancer. In: Abeloff MD, Armitage JO, Niederhuber JE, Kastan MB, McKena WG, eds. Clinical Oncology. 4th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Elsevier Churchill Livingstone; 2008:chap 88.Update Date: 2/7/2009 Updated by: Louis S. Liou, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor of Urology, Department of Surgery, Boston University School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.