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SpaceOAR is a hydrogel that is inserted into the space between the prostate and rectum to reduce the risk of damage to the rectum from radiation therapy.
Radiation therapy is one of the best treatments for prostate cancer, but it can lead to side effects. The rectum is very close to the prostate and can be affected by the radiation beam. Side effects of radiation can include rectal pain and bleeding, chronic diarrhea, urinary urgency and leakage, and erectile dysfunction.
SpaceOAR is an absorbable hydrogel that creates space between the prostate and the rectum. This protects the rectum from receiving radiation and helps to prevent or decrease damage. Patients are more likely to retain bowel quality of life, sexual function, and urinary quality of life after radiation treatment for prostate cancer.
SpaceOAR works by creating additional space between the rectum and prostate.
The normal space between the rectum and prostate is very thin. SpaceOAR moves the rectum away from the prostate an average of ½ inch. This additional separation keeps the radiation dose from hitting the rectum and causing rectal problems.
The doctor uses a small needle to inject the liquid into the space between the prostate and the rectum. There are two liquids in the injection that react when combined to form a hydrogel. An ultrasound is used by the doctor to ensure correct placement.
SpaceOAR insertion is performed as an outpatient procedure in the doctor’s office or surgery center. It typically takes around 30 minutes to place the hydrogel. Patients may be awake with local anesthesia or asleep with general anesthesia – your doctor will discuss which option is best for you.
Some of the risks and complications associated with SpaceOAR include: