SpaceOAR™ Hydrogel Procedure
The SpaceOar is a medical device used in a procedure called “SpaceOar Hydrogel Spacer” to reduce the radiation dose to the rectum during prostate cancer radiation therapy. The device is a thin sheet of hydrogel that is injected between the prostate and rectum, creating a temporary spacer that physically separates the two organs. This reduces the amount of radiation that the rectum receives during treatment and helps to reduce the risk of rectal complications.
The SpaceOar procedure is typically performed under local anesthesia in an outpatient setting (such as our office). First, patients on their back with legs elevated in stirrups. Then a small ultrasound probe is placed in the rectum to allow the doctor to see the prostate and the rectal wall. A numbing injection is done in the skin between the scrotum and the anus and then a deeper numbing injection is done around the prostate. The doctor then inserts small gold pellets that make radiation easier to do as they allow for better targeting of the prostate. Finally, the SpaceOar hydrogel is then injected between the prostate and rectum. This is all done under visual guidance and confirmation with the ultrasound picture. The procedure typically takes about 30 minutes to complete and patients can return to their normal activities immediately after the procedure.
It’s important to note that the SpaceOar Hydrogel Spacer is a newer procedure, it’s FDA cleared in the US but not yet widely adopted and is not covered by most insurance. Our office works on getting it approved by your insurance company, if they allow for it.
Also, It’s important to note that while the SpaceOar Hydrogel Spacer can help to reduce the risk of rectal complications during prostate radiation therapy, it does not eliminate the risk completely. Patients will still need to follow their treatment plan and attend regular follow-up appointments with their radiation oncologist and urologist to monitor their progress and check for any complications.