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BIDMC Plants The Seeds For Prostate Cancer Treatment

Brachtherapy, a minimally invasive procedure where radioactive “seeds” are planted into a cancerous prostate gland, is passing an important milestone at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center – the 1,700th implant.

BOSTON -- Brachtherapy, a minimally invasive procedure where radioactive "seeds" are planted into a cancerous prostate gland, is passing an important milestone at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center - the 1,700th implant.

Using protocols developed here under the direction of Irving Kaplan, M.D., BIDMC physicians use ultrasound to pinpoint the implant locations, then immediately perform the procedure using general or spinal anesthesia. Previously, men were required to make two visits and the success of the procedure often depended on the accuracy of repositioning the patient on the operating table one week later.

Studies published in the Journal of Radiation Oncology Biology Physics support the value of ultrasound-guided seed implants that are placed through the use of three-dimensional intraoperative computer planning. Studies show the technique reduces the number of actual number of implanted seeds by allowing more accurate placement.

Today, patients are able to go home the same day, take only over-the-counter pain relievers and return to normal within a few days, says Kaplan, adding the best data available to date suggests the procedure is as good, if not better, than removing the gland in treating early stage prostate cancer.

Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center is a patient care, teaching and research affiliate of Harvard Medical School, and ranks third in National Institutes of Health funding among independent hospitals nationwide. BIDMC is clinically affiliated with the Joslin Diabetes Center and is a research partner of Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center. BIDMC is the official hospital of the Boston Red Sox.