PROSTATE SEED IMPLANT
FOR PROSTATE CANCER
Prostate seed implant is a type of brachytherapy procedure where tiny radioactive metal pellets or seeds are placed directly into the prostate gland. These seeds slowly give off radiation and allow high doses of radiation to be given to the prostate gland, while limiting the radiation dose to the surrounding normal tissues. Prostate seed implant is quickly becoming the most common treatment for localized prostate cancer in the United States. It is a far less invasive procedure than prostatectomy (surgical removal of the entire prostate gland), and enables a more precisely targeted dose of radiation compared to external beam radiation.
The seed implant is a one day outpatient procedure that is performed in the operating room. After anesthesia is instituted, an ultrasound probe is placed in the rectum, (Click Image), allowing continuous visualization of the prostate gland. Next, the sharp tipped, hollow needles (12 – 24 in all) are inserted through the perineal skin, into the prostate gland in pre-planned positions. Needle insertion is template and ultrasound guided. The radioactive seeds are then inserted through these hollow needles, and the needles removed, leaving the seeds behind in the prostate gland. We also make use of real-time dosimetry and fluoroscopy during the implant procedure. After a couple hours in the recovery room, patients are ready to go home the same day. Normal activities can be resumed the following day.
We have been doing prostate seed implants in our hospital since 1998, and have performed more than 300 implants. All three of the radiation oncology physicians involved in the seed implant program has fellowship training in brachytherapy, and has performed over 150 prostate seed implants each. Our prostate seed implant program is in fact the busiest in South Florida.