Frequently Asked Questions
What is SpaceOAR hydrogel?
SpaceOAR hydrogel is an absorbable hydrogel that temporarily creates space between the prostate and the rectum. This protects the rectum during prostate radiation therapy. The gel stays in place for approximately three months before being naturally absorbed and cleared in the urine in about six months.
Why should I have SpaceOAR hydrogel?
Radiation therapy to treat prostate cancer uses doses of radiation to kill the cancer cells while avoiding the normal tissue that surrounds it. Because the rectum sits next to the prostate, it can accidentally receive high radiation doses, and the damage to healthy tissue can cause side effects. It is a minimally invasive outpatient procedure, and patients can immediately resume their normal activities.
How will SpaceOAR hydrogel help me?
The hydrogel acts as a spacer and pushes the rectum one half of an inch away from the prostate to reduce or even eliminate damage to the rectum. With SpaceOAR hydrogel in place, your doctor can enhance your radiation treatment to better target your cancer while preserving healthy tissue to help ensure your rectal, urinary, and sexual quality of life.
What is it made of and is it safe?
SpaceOAR hydrogel is made up of two liquids that form a soft gel material mostly made of water. Because of the water content it is called a hydrogel. The material that the SpaceOAR hydrogel is made from has been used in other implants such as surgical sealants used in the eye, brain, and spine. It can be safely used in the body without causing injury or a reaction.
Will I feel any discomfort or pain during or after the procedure?
Your doctor will use a local, regional, or general anesthesia and the injection site will be numbed, so you may feel a pinprick or pressure but should not feel any discomfort. Following the implantation, you may experience some temporary discomfort at the injection site. Patients typically report no prolonged discomfort.
Has SpaceOAR hydrogel been clinically tested?
SpaceOAR hydrogel has been tested in many clinical studies and shown to be safe and effective in reducing side effects. In the U.S., 222 prostate cancer patients participated in a multi-center, randomized, patient-blinded clinical study. Study results showed that the hydrogel was safe and effective. The average SpaceOAR hydrogel study patient gained one half of an inch of space between the prostate and rectum and had significant reduction in radiation dose to the rectum resulting in significantly fewer rectal side effects.
Three years after treatment, patients from the study reported significantly fewer long-term rectal side effects, were more likely to maintain sexual function, and had significantly higher scores for urinary and bowel quality of life.