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What is Brachytherapy?

Oluşturma Tarihi: 03.09.2019 11:25 | Son Güncelleme: 01.04.2024 16:05

Brachytherapy or Internal radiation therapy is also called, is a cancer treatment method based on radiation. This technique involves placing radioactive material into or a close place to the tumor. This differs it from other radiation therapy methods characterized by external use of the radiation.

Types of Brachytherapy

  • Low Dose Rate Brachytherapy (LDR): In LDR brachytherapy, radioactive seeds or pellets are implanted near the tumor for a continuous, low-dose radiation over a period of time.
  • High Dose Rate Brachytherapy (HDR): HDR brachytherapy delivers a higher dose of radiation over a shorter period, often using a temporary implant inserted for a specific treatment session.
  • Permanent: Permanent brachytherapy, also known as seed implantation, involves leaving radioactive seeds in the body permanently, where they gradually deliver radiation over time.

What’s the difference between internal radiation and external radiation?

As can be seen in the names, internal radiation as known as brachytherapy is charachterized by delivering the radiation from inside the cancer tissue, while the external radiation means delivering the radiation to the tissue from outside. That’s why brachytherapy directly and only targets the tumor, however the use of external radiation requires a machine outside the body which aims the tumor inside the body from various angles. This method can cause damage on the other healthy tissues. But of course each method have their own benefits and disadvantages.
The main difference between internal radiation brachytherapy and external radiation is how the radiation is delivered. In brachytherapy, radioactive sources are placed inside the body, directly targeting the tumor. External radiation, on the other hand, uses a machine outside the body to deliver radiation to the tumor from various angles. Each method has its advantages and is chosen based on the specific needs of the patient and the type of cancer being treated. While some patients may require one of these methods, others may benefit more from the other.

Risks and side effects of Brachytherapy

Brachytherapy is generally considered as a safe and effective method. However brachitherapy can also some side effects. Temporary irritation and swelling at the implant site can be seen in patients. Fatigue and skin changes can also be seen. Rarely, more serious side effects such as damage to surrounding tissues and organs may occur. However, since the brachytherapy is delivering the radiation directly inside of the targeted tissue, these serious brachytherapy side effects are not common.

How to Prepare For Brachytherapy

Preparing for brachytherapy typically involves discussing the procedure with your doctor, tests, imagings and planning of the treatment process. You may also need to go under a specific diet or you may have to use drugs brfore the treatment.

During Brachytherapy

During brachytherapy, you will be positioned carefully to ensure right placement of the radioactive implant. Loca lor general anesthesia can be applied on patients depending on what kind of brachytherapy will be performed. The procedure may take from a few minutes to several hours, depending also on the complexity and duration of the treatment.

How is Brachytherapy Performed

Brachytherapy is typically performed in a hospital or outpatient settingThe doctors place the radioactive sources directly into or near the tumor. This may be done using various techniques, such as needles, catheters, or specialized applicators, depending on the location and size of the tumor. Imaging techniques like ultrasound or CT scans may be used to guide the placement of the sources.

What to expect after brachytherapy

After brachytherapy, you may experience some discomfort or side effects, such as soreness at the implant site, fatigue, or changes in bowel or bladder function. Your doctor will provide instructions on how to manage these side effects and when to follow up for further evaluation. Recovery time can vary depending on the individual and the type of brachytherapy performed.

How long does the implant stay in the body?

There is no certain time for implant tos tay in the body for all patients. This time can change depending on the individual characteristics of the patient’s tumor, and also the type of brachytherapy used. Temporary implants, such as those used in HDR brachytherapy, are typically removed after each treatment session. In contrast, permanent implants, like those in seed brachytherapy, remain in the body indefinitely.

How long does it take to recover from brachytherapy?

Recovery time from brachytherapy treatment can vary depending on the type or location of the tumor, your overall health and the type of brachytherapy used. People may experience small side effects. Some people return their daily activities quickly, while it can take more time for some other. It is important to stay in touch with your doctor during this the healing process and manage the process together in case of any complications of brachytherapy.

How effective is brachytherapy?

While its effectiveness depends on various factors like the size or stage of the tumor or its location, they can be really effective when it comes to delivering the radiation directly and just to the tumor. The range of the effects of radition can be limited with only the tumor, not the healty surrounding tissues.


* The Editorial Board of Liv Hospital has contributed to the publication of this content.
* The contents on our website are for informational purposes only. Please consult your physician for diagnosis and treatment. The content of this page does not include information on medicinal health care at Liv Hospital.

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