Prostate Seed Implant (Brachytherapy)
Most men are choosing a radioactive seed implant for treatment of their prostate cancer due to its superior long-term results and lack of long-term side effects. Recently published studies have shown that with 15 years of follow-up, a seed implant is a very effective treatment for prostate cancer. If found early, more than nine out of ten men will be cured of their cancer after seed implants. Prostate seed implantation is based upon the use of tiny radioactive seeds, each smaller than a grain of rice. The seeds are made of titanium and contain a small amount of palladium or iodine. After placement, the seeds emit an intense amount of radiation to the cancer in the prostate, and only minimal radiation outside the prostate to other areas, such as the bladder and rectum. The seeds give off radiation for a few months and then are permanently inactive. Because cancer cells are much more sensitive to radiation than normal cells, they can be selectively killed. Prostate implantation is a simple outpatient procedure that takes less than one hour. Men typically report to the hospital in the morning, and return home a few hours later. The entire procedure is done through very thin needles while under a light general or spinal anesthetic. There is no cutting involved and no stitches are required. With an ultrasound in the rectum, a live picture of the prostate is obtained. The Urologist then precisely places the needles in the prostate, through the perineum (the area of skin between the scrotum and rectum). The Radiation Oncologist then inserts the seeds through the needles. Once the procedure is completed and the anesthesia has worn off, you can go home. Most men do not complain of any pain and most do not need a catheter after the procedure. Unlike surgery, the risk of incontinence is less than 1%. Most men return to their normal activities that next morning, and can return to work, playing golf, etc.