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The SpaceOAR system allows Lehigh Valley Cancer Institute radiation oncologists to inject a material to push the rectum away from the prostate, providing more margin (space) between the prostate gland and rectum so radiation dosage to the rectum is markedly less. The system permits a very high radiation dose, which gets better control of the cancer while reducing the risk of long-term side effects.
The SpaceOAR procedure is similar to a standard prostate biopsy. Oncologists use an ultrasound probe in the rectum, introduce a needle into the perineum under image guidance to find the space between the rectum and prostate, and inject saline to open up the space. The oncologist then injects SpaceOAR hydrogel, which solidifies on contact and forms a barrier between prostate and rectum. The material dissolves over time. The outpatient procedure is typically conducted in 30 to 40 minutes.