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.
Watch Dr. Niraj Pahlajani, Radiation Oncologist with the Austin Center for Radiation Oncology, and Dr. Eric Giesler, Urologist at Urology Austin, present a very informative webinar on prostate cancer, radiation therapy and SpaceOAR (Organ at Risk). This webinar was hosted by Boston Scientific and presented in June 2022.
Learn more about SpaceOAR hydrogel by viewing Dr. Eric Giesler’s webinar: Prostate Cancer, Radiation Therapy and SpaceOAR. This webinar starts at approximately slide #5 and discusses the benefits of having a SpaceOAR hydrogel injection prior to beginning radiation therapy. Video courtesy of Boston Scientific.
Watch Dr. Eric Giesler’s interview on KVUE TVs “Spotlight ATX”. Dr. Giesler discusses the importance of prostate cancer screening and treatment options including surgery and radiation therapy. He also discusses how men undergoing radiation can have SpaceOAR hydrogel inserted between the prostate and the rectum to protect their rectum during radiation therapy.
Videos courtesy of SpaceOAR. All rights reserved.