The CivaString® LDR Brachytherapy Procedure
Until recently, the only type of LDR implant available has been metal “seeds.” A seed is a very small metal tube that is filled with radioactive material. These seeds are individually inserted into the prostate using needles. An average of 100 to 120 seeds are commonly implanted to treat a prostate gland.
Your doctor can now offer you a new, innovative LDR technology called the CivaString LDR Source. The CivaString allows your clinician to personalize and customize your brachytherapy treatment.
The CivaString is of a similar diameter to the seeds, but is the only LDR source made out of a flexible organic polymer (instead of metal) in which the radioactive palladium material is embedded. Its unique construction is designed to deliver a much more uniform dose of radiation than traditional metal seeds, which can minimize the number of needles used and decrease the recovery time and side effects.
The customizable CivaString®
Before the Implant Procedure
Before the implant procedure is performed, your doctor will schedule a number of tests to measure your prostate and determine the number of CivaString implants required to treat your cancer. Your doctors will work with a medical physicist to develop a customized treatment plan for you that will map where and how many CivaStrings will be implanted to treat your cancer.
During the Implant Procedure
The brachytherapy procedure is typically done on an outpatient basis. You will be positioned on an operating table so that your prostate can be accessed using a needle template. Most likely, you will receive general or spinal anesthesia to ensure that you will not feel discomfort or the needle insertions during the procedure. Your doctor will use an ultrasound probe that is placed inside the rectum to visualize the prostate and guide the insertion of the needles and the placement of the CivaStrings.
Once the CivaString LDR sources are implanted, the needles are removed. The duration of the procedure will vary depending on the condition of your prostate and the type of implants being used, but it generally takes about 20-30 minutes.
After the Implant Procedure
After the implant procedure is completed, you will be taken to a recovery room until the effects of the anesthesia have worn off. You will receive instructions and precautions before leaving the hospital.
Your doctor will advise you to refrain from strenuous activity or applying pressure to the treated area for a few days following the procedure. Because the CivaString LDR source is constructed of a proprietary organic polymer, it will not interfere with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) studies or set off metal detectors (like those at the airport).
The radiation used for treatment in the CivaString LDR sources will be absorbed by the prostate gland in the same manner as that of other LDR sources. This type of radiation will not extend beyond the prostate and therefore does not pose a threat to you or other people around you. Normal activities such as hugging your wife or children, sleeping with your spouse or being in close proximity to others are acceptable; however, it is recommended that young children or pregnant women not sit on your lap for at least two months.
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