High-Dose Radiation (HDR) Brachytherapy
HDR temporary brachytherapy involves placing very tiny plastic catheters into the prostate and then introducing a series of radiation treatments through these. The catheters are then easily pulled out, with no radioactive material being left in the gland.
A computer-controlled machine pushes a single, highly radioactive iridium seed into each catheter one-by-one. Because the computer can control how long this single seed remains in each of the catheters, the physician is able to control the radiation dose in different regions of the prostate. The physician can give the tumor a higher dose, while ensuring that the urine passage (urethra) and rectum receive a lower dose.
A hospital stay is required. The benefits include a short course of treatment (one week) compared to other radiation treatments. There is also better preservation of organ structure and function. With HDR, no radioactivity is left inside a patient following treatment.