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Radiotherapy is proven to be an effective, non-invasive method of treating prostate cancer but it can lead to potential side-effects, which can result from radiation exposure (toxicity) to the surrounding organs and tissues, such as the rectum. The rectum mucosa is very sensitive to radiation injury. Its immediate proximity to the prostate makes the rectum the primary organ at risk (OAR) during prostate radiation therapy. Too much rectum radiation exposure may result in long-term abdominal pain, diarrhoea, incontinence, bleeding, and mucus discharge.
SpaceOAR® is an innovative hydrogel that is injected between the prostate and the rectum. It is designed to safely increase the space between the gland and the bowel, so that radiation exposure is reduced.
Clinical studies have shown that not only does the hydrogel spare the bowel, it also has positive benefits in reducing urinary incontinence and retaining sexual function (for men who were sexually potent prior to treatment).
SpaceOAR® is implanted under anaesthesia with a fine 18G needle, it does not require a surgical scalpel or dilator. The procedure only takes a few minutes, the gel positions the rectum on average 1cm away from the prostate. This space moves the rectum out of the zone of radiation and spares the bowel from irradiation.
The clinical evidence and product procedure of utilising a biodegradable spacer to reduce rectal toxicity have been reviewed and approved by the National Institute for Health Care and Excellence under procedural guidance code IPG590.