High-dose rate or HDR brachytherapy is a revolutionary new form of internal radiation which temporarily exposes abnormal tissue to a high amount of radiation.
Under CT and fluoroscopy guidance a bronchoscope is used to deliver a catheter into a position at the site of the bronchial tumor. The other end of this catheter is connected to a computerized machine. This machine passes a small radioactive metal pellet or seed through the catheter. The catheter guides the seed to the tumor site. The duration and positioning of the seed can be used to control the radiation dose in different regions of the tumor.
The overall effect of HDR brachytherapy is to deliver short and precise amounts of high dose radiation to a tumor while minimizing healthy tissue exposure. After a series of treatments the catheter is removed leaving no radioactive seeds in the body.
Brachytherapy can also be used to treat prostate cancer and breast cancer.
In this medical animation, a patient receives high-dose rate (HDR) brachytherapy, a form of internal radiation. The simulation shows how a computer delivers a tiny, radioactive seed through a catheter that is implanted in the patient's tumor. The seed radiates the tumor from the inside out.
HDR brachytherapy tightly contains the radiation within the tumor, avoiding exposure to healthy surrounding tissues. It also allows for a treatment time of days, compared to weeks for standard radiation therapy. HDR brachytherapy may be used to treat lung, breast, prostate, colon, esophageal and gynecologic cancers.