High Dose-Rate Brachytherapy

High dose-rate brachytherapy, sometimes called temporary bracyhtherapy, is suited for both early stage and some locally advanced prostate cancers (up to stage T3b). It is used in conjunction with external beam radiotherapy and/or hormone therapy. In some instances high dose-rate brachytherapy may be used as a sole treatment.

How does High dose-rate differ from Low dose-rate?

HDR brachytherapy involves the insertion of a radio-active bead into tiny plastic rods which are temporarily placed into the prostate to deliver the appropriate dose (as opposed to Low dose-rate, in which the seeds are permanently implanted) . 15- 20 of these thin hollow rods are placed into the gland through the perineal area with the aid of a template, through which an iridium bead is inserted.

A computer-controlled machine pushes the bead into the rods one by one. It also controls the length of time the radiation is given through the rods. The procedure is normally performed once. If given with external beam radiotherapy it is usually performed first and the radiation follows approximately two weeks later. At the end of the treatment the rods are withdrawn with no radio-active material remaining in the prostate.


There is currently no evidence that results for High dose-rate brachytherapy are any better than for Low dose-rate treatment.