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.

Why you might need it

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).

The Spire Oncology Centre use the latest advances in technology in order to provide the most accurate radiotherapy treatment tailored to your specific needs.


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.

Who will do it?

Professor Amit Bahl, Clinical Oncologist says “Today, the potential side-effects from radiation exposure are a major concern for men who are given the option of radiotherapy. These side-effects can often negatively impact the decision for men to accept this treatment option. New technology such SpaceOAR hydrogel are important, they give men the confidence that not only are we doing our best to treat the cancer, we are protecting their long-term quality of life from bowel, urinary and sexual dysfunction.”

Professor Persad says, “The hydrogel is relatively simple concept. We use a very fine needle (under anaesthetic) to inject the gel between the prostate and rectum.  This space moves the rectum out of the zone of high dose radiation and minimises the risk of bowel damage.”

Key clinical data

SpaceOAR® is supported by over 72 clinical publications and a 222 patient randomised control trial. It has been implanted in around 30,000 men worldwide.

  • Bowel: 66% fewer SpaceOAR® hydrogel patients experienced clinically significant declines in detectable bowel quality of life (1X the Minimal Important Difference) at median 3 years compared to control patients1
  • Urinary: 66% fewer SpaceOAR® hydrogel patients experienced clinically significant declines (2X the Minimal Important Difference) in detectable urinary quality of life at median 3 years compared to control patients1
  • Sexual: SpaceOAR® hydrogel patients who had erections sufficient for intercourse at baseline were 78% more likely to retain sexual function at median 3 years compared to control patients3