Radioactive Implants (Prostate Seeds)

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Prostate seed implantation, or brachytherapy, is a procedure that places radioactive rice-sized "seeds" into the cancerous prostate. Seeds can be left in place permanently, as they give off radiation for a specific period of time (weeks or months), and do not need to be removed once the radiation is gone.

Permanent prostate seed implants, given either alone or in combination with external-beam radiation therapy as an alternative to radical surgery, are one of the most popular radiation procedures in the United States, due to their high success rate and limited side effects when used for localized prostate cancer.

What to expect

This surgical procedure is performed on an out-patient basis and typically takes no more than a couple of hours. The seeds are distributed into the prostate using tiny implant needles that we guide using ultrasound. Although you can walk on your own power a short time after the procedure, you should have a friend or family member drive you home. Most patients are back to a normal routine within a day or two.

Radiation exposure to other people is minimal. But you should avoid holding babies or small children in your lap during the period that the seeds are active.