SpaceOAR™ Hydrogel

SpaceOAR™ Hydrogel is a revolutionary product that both reduces negative side effects associated with prostate radiation therapy and allows for better radiation delivery to the prostate. One issue that prostate cancer patients face during radiation therapy is that the healthy tissue and organs surrounding the prostate are also exposed to unwanted doses of radiation. When the rectum, which lies next to the prostate, is exposed to radiation, patients may suffer bowel issues that can significantly disrupt their quality of life. For decades, Radiation Oncologists have needed to balance dose delivery to the prostate while attempting to minimize unwanted radiation to the rectum.

SpaceOAR Hydrogel allows Radiation Oncologists to dramatically reduce the exposure of radiation to the rectum by inserting a gel that creates space between the prostate and rectum. This space diminishes the risk of both short and long term rectal complications, as well as allowing for better and safer delivery of radiation to the prostate.

The physicians at Western Radiation Oncology (WRO) have been offering SpaceOAR to patients with prostate cancer since the product’s inception in 2012, and were lead participants in the pivotal clinical trial which established its use.

More recently, WRO has been offering SpaceOAR Vue, the next generation spacer product that offers improved visibility on CT scans and helps with target localization during a course of external beam radiation therapy. Your physician will discuss the specifics of SpaceOAR use with you at the time of your initial consultation.

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western radiation oncology
western radiation oncology
western radiation oncology


How does SpaceOAR Hydrogel work?

SpaceOAR is a quick, five minute outpatient procedure, whereby a liquid is inserted using ultrasound guidance between the prostate and rectum, typically 1-2 weeks prior to the patient’s scheduled radiation therapy. Once implanted, the liquid solidifies in seconds creating ample space between the prostate and rectum.

Are patients awake during the SpaceOAR procedure? Are there any side effects or discomfort a patient should be aware of?

SpaceOAR can be done under local, regional, or general anesthesia, however the vast majority of our patients are under local anesthesia only. Patients typically have no side effects from the SpaceOAR placement procedure and can resume all activities immediately. Some patients have noted slight pressure at the time of insertion and some mild discomfort at the site of injection afterwards but this is quite rare. Talk to your WRO doctor for more information about the risks and benefits of SpaceOAR.

Is SpaceOAR Safe?

SpaceOAR is a safe, FDA-approved procedure with minimal potential for complications. The Hydrogel itself is highly-absorbent and made mostly of water (90%) and polyethylene glycol (PEG), a common material found in existing surgical sealants. After approximately six months, the gel is absorbed by the body and passed through the urine. You will not feel the SpaceOar while it is present in your body.

As with any intervention, there is a risk of complications. Please talk to Dr. Kurtzman or Dr. Agarwal about the risks involved with the use of SpaceOAR. Potential rare complications associated with SpaceOAR Hydrogel include, but are not limited to: pain associated with SpaceOAR Hydrogel injection; pain or discomfort associated with SpaceOAR Hydrogel; needle penetration of the bladder, prostate, rectal wall, rectum or urethra; injection of SpaceOAR Hydrogel into the bladder, prostate, rectal wall, rectum or urethra; local inflammatory reactions; infection; injection of air, fluid or SpaceOAR Hydrogel intravascularly; urinary retention; rectal mucosal damage, ulcers, necrosis; bleeding; and rectal urgency.

What side effects associated with unwanted radiation exposure does SpaceOAR prevent?

The purpose of SpaceOAR is to prevent the negative side effects suffered by the bowels when the rectum is exposed to radiation. A common side effect is an inflammation known as radiation proctitis. Symptoms of radiation proctitis may include rectal bleeding, mucus or bloody discharge from the rectum, a frequent sense of needing to empty the bowels, abdominal cramps, diarrhea, and more. In order to prevent this, your WRO doctor may recommend SpaceOAR prior to your radiation therapy.

Is SpaceOAR recommended to LDR Brachytherapy patients?

Absolutely. SpaceOAR is typically inserted 1-2 weeks prior to the LDR brachytherapy treatment.

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