Brachytherapy, also called internal radiation, is the process of implanting radioactive material inside the body, onto or near a tumor. With this mode of therapy, a powerful dose of radiation can be delivered directly to the tumor with less damage to the surrounding healthy tissue.
Examples of Brachytherapy
- High dose rate (HDR) brachytherapy for lung, breast and gynecologic cancers
- Prostate seed implants
- Brachytherapy for eye tumors
What Is High Dose Rate (HDR) Brachytherapy?
In HDR brachytherapy, a tiny radioactive source is passed through an implanted catheter. This source is controlled by a computer, which programs it to stay for various lengths of time in specified locations within the catheter in order to deliver precise doses of radiation. This system may be used for lung, breast and gynecologic tumors and is done on an outpatient basis, typically over a period of 1-5 days.
What Are Prostate Seed Implants?
Prostate seed implants are used to treat localized prostate cancer. A Urologist and Radiation Oncologist perform the procedure together. With this procedure, between 70 and 150 radioactive seeds (each about the size of a grain of rice) are implanted in the prostate gland. This technique allows higher doses of radiation to be delivered to the tumor site while limiting dose to surrounding normal tissues.
Before treatment, an ultrasound is performed to ensure that the prostate is not obstructed and is within the appropriate size range for implantation. This scan also assists the radiation oncologist in determining how many seeds are needed and where to place them. The actual implant procedure is performed on an outpatient basis, under general anesthesia and with ultrasound guidance. The patient is usually able to return to normal activity within 48 hours, although he may continue to have soreness and urinary symptoms for some time afterward.
NewsView all News
Emory Healthcare news from the Emory News Center
Photos: Emory Denim Day
April 25, 2017
Two Emory Healthcare nurses inducted as fellows into American College of Critical Care Medicine
April 25, 2017
New study uses freezing technique to target vagus nerve and obesity
April 24, 2017
Father, son share special bond; both receive cochlear implants
April 21, 2017
Photos: Ebola care team attends 'Facing Darkness' screening
April 20, 2017
Ready, set, go! for Heel to Heal Superhero 5K and Fundraiser
April 18, 2017
SIBR program shows teamwork in healthcare
April 17, 2017
Expert Q&A: The antibiotic resistance threat
April 12, 2017
Christy M. Norman joins Emory Healthcare as vice president of pharmacy services
April 07, 2017
Medical faculty recognized by their Emory peers on Doctors' Day
April 05, 2017