HDR Brachytherapy

High Dose Rate (HDR) Prostate Brachytherapy is a method of inserting radiation directly into the prostate. The radiation oncologist inserts under anesthesia, hollow plastic tubes into the prostate, using ultrasound guidance. A tiny radioactive source is made to travel inside the tubes one at a time with a special machine, treating the entire prostate gland. The plastic catheters are then removed.

Note that unlike the seed implant, the patient is never radioactive. No radioactivity remains in the patient. And since no seeds are left in, there is no possibility of seed migration, a phenomenon that may occur with seeds left in the prostate.

Also, the radiation oncologist, working with the physicist, can adjust the time the radioactive source stays in a catheter, thereby allowing one to adjust the dose as required. For example, if the tumor was on the left side of the prostate gland, the treatment can be adjusted to treat the left side of the prostate with wider margins. This unique method of adjusting the doses cannot be done with the seed implant. Also, HDR allows the physician to treat areas just beyond the prostate, in case the tumor has grown through the capsule that surrounds the normal prostate.

Your radiation oncologist can determine the best therapeutic option for you, based on the nature of the tumor and physical exam.