Mammosite Balloon Breast Brachytherapy
Balloon breast brachytherapy (BBB) is a new technique for delivering radiation treatment in women with early stage breast cancer. This technique is a one-week alternative to the more traditional method of using seven weeks of external beam radiation. BBB is given after lumpectomy, or surgical removal of a small breast cancer. A single soft catheter with a balloon at the end is placed in the lumpectomy cavity either during the lumpectomy or up to ten weeks after. The balloon is then inflated with saline to a diameter of about 2 inches, allowing the surrounding breast tissue to conform to the balloon.
The radiation treatments are then given on an outpatient basis, twice daily for five days. Each treatment takes about 20 minutes, during which a highly radioactive Iridium-192 seed (attached to a high dose rate remote after loader) is inserted into the center of the inflated balloon for several minutes. Treatments are completely painless. Once all ten radiation treatments are completed, the balloon is deflated and the catheter is removed.
The major advantages of BBB are a decrease in the duration of radiation treatment, and a decrease in the amount of healthy tissue exposed to radiation.