Brachytherapy is a minimally invasive treatment option that administers radioactive seeds (the size of a grain of rice) directly into the prostate. A significant benefit of this procedure is its precision and the ability to use higher doses in the seeds without damaging any surrounding healthy tissue. The radioactive seeds are placed into thin needles and are directed into the prostate through the perineum. The seeds release low dose radiation for several weeks or months, killing the cancer cells.
Brachytherapy is an outpatient procedure (averaging about 45 minutes in length), which does not require hospital stay. Most patients return to work or their normal activity within a few days. Potential side effects include frequent urination, incontinence (blockage of urinary flow), soreness or discomfort and impotence. However, recent studies have shown that some of these side effects are not permanent.
Cryotherapy uses argon gas to freeze and helium gas to thaw. This process destroys cancer cells in the prostate. A warming catheter is inserted through the urethra to protect it during the freezing process of the prostate. The cancer cells in the prostate are destroyed as they thaw.
This procedure normally takes about 2-3 hours to perform and requires general or spinal anesthesia. Cryotherapy is considered an outpatient procedure, although it may require an overnight stay if determined by the physician.
Possible side effects from cryotherapy may include permanent impotence from the freezing process, since nerves influencing sexual potency may be affected. Also, urethral sloughing cause from dead or necrotic tissue produced by the procedure fall off into the bladder and bladder neck blocking the urine stream. Speak with your physician for more detailed side effects.
HIFU (High Intensity Focused Ultrasound)
HIFU (high intensity focused ultrasound) heats and destroys pathogenic tissue rapidly by using a high-intensity, focused ultrasound. This highly precise medical procedure is one modality of therapeutic ultrasound. The ultrasound beams in HIFU therapy target diseased tissue, and from the significant energy deposition at the target, temperature within the tissue rises from 65° to 85°C, thus destroying the diseased tissue by coagulation necrosis. Because this technology can achieve precise ablation of diseased tissue, it can therefore be called HIFU surgery. Since it destroys the diseased tissue non-invasively, it is also known as "Non-invasive HIFU surgery". Anesthesia typically is not required.
High Intensity Focused Ultrasound is considered a promising technology due to the non-invasive or minimally invasive therapy. HIFU’s capacity to generate in-depth precise tissue necrosis, with no effect on the surrounding structures, is unique. Technology has continually improved and additional clinical applications, both diagnostic and therapeutic, have become an integral part of medicine today. HIFU differs from many other forms of focused energy due to the passage of ultrasound energy through intervening tissue has no apparent cumulative effect on that tissue.