SpaceOAR Hydrogel is an absorbable polyethylene glycol (PEG) based injectable material that creates space between the rectum and prostate in patients undergoing radiation treatment for prostate cancer. This created space reduces the radiation dose delivered to the rectum during therapy and may help minimize the side effects of radiation therapy. The hydrogel is made of mostly water and PEG material that form a soft gel when combined.
How SpaceOAR Hydrogel Works
Due to the proximity of the prostate and rectum, radiation therapy for prostate cancer can unintentionally cause damage to the rectum. The hydrogel pushes against the rectum to temporarily create space between the prostate and rectum. The space helps reduce the amount of radiation delivered to the rectum during radiation treatment and decreases the chance of rectal injury.
What to Expect
SpaceOAR Hydrogel can be implanted as an outpatient procedure prior to the start of radiation treatment, with the procedure itself lasting about 30 minutes. It is injected as a liquid through a needle inserted between the rectum and prostate. Your doctor will use an ultrasound for guidance during the procedure and you may feel slight pressure, which is normal. Your doctor will confirm the hydrogel placement through an ultrasound after it is placed. The space created by the hydrogel is about half an inch and will be absorbed by the body and removed through urine after about six months.
Side effects of SpaceOAR Hydrogel include:
- Pain, discomfort, or inflammation at injection site
- Inability to urinate
- Urgent need to urinate
- Muscle spasms
- Rectal lining damage
Benefits of SpaceOAR Hydrogel
SpaceOAR hydrogel reduces radiation exposure to the rectum and may decrease side effects during radiation for prostate cancer. It has also been shown to help reduce sexual, urinary and bowel complications.