Patients first meet with their doctor for a treatment planning session, during which we use imaging technology, such as CT and MRI, to map the prostate anatomy, including the urethra. Unlike other radiation treatments, interstitial brachytherapy requires only one treatment session, during which:
- Patients are given an anesthetic.
- Physicians use ultrasound to guide the placement of the seeds, which are smaller than a grain of rice (five mm), in the prostate, while protecting the nearby urethra and rectum.
- Physicists measure the radiation levels in the prostate and the rest of the body to ensure the proper areas are being treated and healthy tissue is spared.
After waking up from the procedure, patients are able to return home the same day as treatment. They then return four to five weeks later for a CAT scan to check on the seed placement and then every three months after that for evaluation, including prostate-specific antigen (PSA) measurement.
The side effects from brachytherapy for prostate cancers are typically temporary and decrease as the body becomes used to the seed implants. They include urinary symptoms such as:
- Bladder and urethra pressure.
- The feeling of needing to urinate frequently.
- Decreased urinary flow.