Hydrogel, used in prostate cancer radiotherapy, is the latest advancement in minimizing the risk of side effects during and after radiation treatment. The prostate is nestled in between two important organs, the rectum and the bladder. What hydrogel does is that it acts as a protective spacer between the prostate and the rectum, pushing the rectum away from the prostate and the high dose region of radiation during treatment.
The procedure is a minimally invasive outpatient procedure with local or general anesthesia in which the Hydrogel is inserted between the rectum and the prostate. Patients can immediately resume their normal activities after the Hydrogel is inserted. The gel stays in place for approximately 3 months and is then naturally absorbed by the body and cleared in the urine 6 months after the treatment.
The Hydrogel procedure allows for reduced rectal side effects and reduced toxicity in the rectum, bladder, and penile bulb. Patients treated with Hydrogel demonstrated bowel, urinary, and sexual benefits and reported an improved quality of life through three years of follow up.