Prostate seed implants, also known as brachytherapy, is a cancer treatment where radioactive seeds are implanted directly near the tumor to kill cancer cells. The technique spares surrounding healthy tissue from more of the side effects associated with standard therapies. Prostate seed implants are performed on an outpatient basis by a radiation oncologist, urologist and diagnostic technician.
Prior to surgery, patients undergo a prostate volume study which generates a 3-D computerized plan of the implant. Later, during surgery, the surgeon places the small radioactive seeds – about the size of a grain of rice – into the prostate via small needles and guided by ultrasound imaging. The seeds remain permanently in the prostate and deliver targeted, low-dose radiation for several months.
The surgery is performed under general anesthesia and takes about an hour to complete. The final step for the patient involves a CT scan of the pelvic region one to two months after surgery.