Doctors at Gurgaon-based Medanta Cancer Institute claimed to have successfully performed what they call is India’s first permanent seed implant for the treatment of early-stage prostate cancer.
The new technique, they said, helps deliver high doses of radiation directly into the prostate gland in the form of an iodine seed, which is as small as a rice grain.
The procedure results in chances of better treatment outcome, reducing the healing time from the normal eight weeks of radiation therapy to a day.
The person undergoing such a surgery can also get back to his/her normal routine within a week.
The doctors said it is done through a pinhole that eliminates the need for any kind of surgical incision or cutting.
Performed under ultrasound guidance via the transrectal route, the implant comprising radioactive Iodine-125 is lodged inside the prostate gland. The needles are subsequently removed leaving only the radioactive seeds behind.
Dr Tejinder Kataria, chairperson, division of radiation oncology at Medanta Cancer Institute, said, the pinhole procedure uses implants that are inserted directly into the tumour with the help of thin hollow needles.
“These implants are left in place after the radiation has been used up and their small size causes little or no discomfort,” he said.
He added that the Iodine-125 seeds used in this procedure are low attenuating radioactivity seeds and do not pose any risk to the family members of the patient and become biologically inert after around ten months.
The number of seeds and the exact location is decided by a computer-generated plan and seeds to be implanted are calculated in real time for each procedure.
The doctor, however, warned that the procedure was effective only in the early stages of cancer, in patients whose infection is limited to the prostate gland.
If the cancer has invaded surrounding tissues or structures like the bladder or rectum, then the technique will be ineffective.
“This procedure for localised prostate cancer has never been tried before in India. Medanta has taken the lead with a high degree of success in this regard,” Dr Kataria added.