Prostate Seed Implantation

Brachytherapy, or prostate seed implantation, is a type of radiation therapy in which radioactive metallic seeds—smaller than a grain of rice—are permanently placed inside the prostate gland. This therapy delivers a high dose of radiation directly to the prostate gland and sometimes to the seminal vesicles.

The seeds give off radiation slowly over several months and, within one year, their radiation completely decays. The seeds can remain safely in place for the rest of a man’s life.

Brachytherapy is given with external radiation or by itself, depending on the stage of cancer.


How is prostate seed implantation done?

Brachytherapy works more effectively on small–and moderately–sized prostate glands.

Men with enlarged prostates often undergo a three to six month course of hormone therapy to shrink the prostate prior to implantation. A urologist and radiation oncologist work together to perform the implant.

Prior to implant surgery, a urologist will perform a transrectal ultrasound. This imaging test uses sound waves to create pictures of a man’s prostate gland. Following the ultrasound, a radiation oncologist will perform the brachytherapy.

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