Types of brachytherapy:
- Intracavitary treatment : radioactive implants placed inside body cavities
- Unsealed internal radiation therapy : medication containing radioactive materials injected into a vein or body cavity.
- Interstitial treatment : radioactive implants placed directly into the tumor and may be permanent
Brachytherapy implants may be:
- Permanent : It is low dose rate brachytherapy using implants called pellets or seeds. They are very small as the size of a grain of rice, and are inserted directly into a tumor through thin, hollow needles. They are left in place after the radiation has been used up and their small size causes little or no discomfort.
- Temporary : It refers to the use of implants that are removed after the treatment has ended. Hollow needles, catheters, or balloons filled with fluid are inserted into or near the cancer for a certain period then removed.
Brachytherapy is usually an outpatient procedure, eliminating the need of having to spend the night at the hospital. The entire procedure takes nearly an hour. Most patients are administered spinal anesthesia making them numb from the waist down. An ultrasound probe is inserted into the rectum to view the prostate gland on a screen, to help the doctor in placing the seeds. The seeds are then implanted into the prostate through thin needles. They are inserted into the skin between the scrotum and rectum and are directed to the right place to treat the cancer. Towards the end of the procedure, a catheter will be positioned in the bladder to help you pass urine.
In permanent brachytherapy, needles are pre-filled with the radioactive seeds that are then inserted into the tumor. The device is then removed. Seeds may also be implanted using a device that inserts them individually at pre-defined intervals. X-rays or CT scans can be used to help the physician in positioning the seeds. In temporary case, a delivery device is placed into the tumor. The delivery device is inserted into the body cavity. High-dose rate brachytherapy is an outpatient procedure although patients are sometimes admitted for several HDR treatments. The treatment lasts only a few minutes but the procedure takes up to several hours, and be repeated several times a day.
While the highly-sophisticated procedure is highly result-yielding, it is also important that the physicists are experienced in treating cancer and operating the equipment. Indian Medguru Consultants is a medical tourism company in India having ties with the best medical centers and doctors, providing excellent care at very affordable rates.