When undergoing radiation therapy for prostate cancer, there is a risk that high doses of radiation exposure could affect areas in close proximity to the prostate, especially the rectum. In order to guard the rectum from exposure, the Austin Center for Radiation Oncology is offering the SpaceOAR hydrogel injection to patients.
SpaceOAR is a soft gel that is injected into the space between the prostate and the rectum. This gel helps to widen the space between these organs, while creating a protective shield to reduce radiation injury to the rectum. This is a minimally invasive procedure that is performed by a Urologist. Once injected, it will remain as a shield between the prostate gland and rectum throughout the duration of radiation treatments. After a period of about six months, the gel will be absorbed by the body and gradually eliminated during urination.
How SpaceOAR works
Below are simple graphics showing the prostate and rectum without the SpaceOAR injection, and with the injection. This is meant to provide patients with a visual understanding of how the gel helps buffer the rectum during radiation treatments.
Illustration showing the close proximity of the prostate and rectum.
Illustration showing an injection of SpaceOAR gel between the prostate and the rectum.
Frequently asked questions about this product
Is the SpaceOAR injection safe?
This injectable gel primarily consists of water, so is compatible with the human body and can be used safely. This product has been cleared for patient use in the United States and other countries.
Is the injection painful?
Prior to the procedure, the Urologist will place lidocaine into the rectum to numb the area. This anesthetic should eliminate pain or discomfort while the gel is being injected between the prostate and the rectum.
How will this procedure affect my activity level?
The injection itself should not interfere with the patient’s normal activity level. Unless advised by the radiation oncologist, patients should be able to return to normal activities following the procedure.
To learn more about this procedure, contact the Austin Center for Radiation Oncology to schedule a consultation with Dr. Garza.
Videos courtesy of SpaceOAR. All rights reserved.