Our physicians at Central Florida Cancer Care Center also perform internal radiation therapy, also referred to as brachytherapy or seed treatment. Internal radiation therapy allows your doctor to give a higher total dose of radiation to a smaller area often with a single procedure saving time as compared to daily external radiation treatment. It can be used alone or in combination with external beam irradiation.
When your physician recommends a radioactive implant as part of your treatment, it involves many steps and usually the use of an operating room to allow you to have anesthetic so that you will not experience any pain from the placing of the implant.
The first step is preplanning your implant which requires taking measurements, mapping and determining the proper number of seeds and their proper strength. The procedure is typically performed in a single day and does not require an overnight stay in the hospital.
The day of the procedure, your radiation oncologist and your surgeon will perform the implant together. While under an anesthetic, your doctors will utilize both ultrasound and fluoroscopy (x-rays) to make certain that the preplan is carried out with accuracy in the placing of your seeds.
The majority of our prostate implants are done with Palladium-103 (Pd-103); we also use Iodine-125 (I-125) for implants. Prostate seed implants are permanent, meaning they are not removed. With a half-life of 17 days, Palladium-103 seeds emit low energy gamma rays and the patient effectively shields most of the radiation emitted. The treatment is given based on which isotope is utilized; for Pd-103 the bulk of the treatment is completed in 34 days and for I-125 in 120 days. You will experience symptoms of irritation during urination but should not have severe pain.