At KCUC Urology and Oncology, we strive to provide the latest and best care for our patients. From robotic surgery to cutting-edge treatments, we take pride in being the first to bring the forefront of medicine to the middle of the country. The best care means providing the most effective treatments with the fewest side effects and the best outcomes. We also strive to educate our community about the latest advances in care. SpaceOAR is one of the innovative tools we use with radiation treatments for prostate cancer.
What Is SpaceOAR?
SpaceOAR (which stands for Spacing Organs at Risk) is a hydrogel that temporarily creates space between the prostate and the rectum, protecting the rectum from radiation exposure during prostate radiation treatments. The biodegradable gel is injected between the prostate and the rectal wall. The minimally invasive procedure takes about 10-15 minutes and patients may return home afterward. Most people return to normal activity within 48 hours after the procedure. The good news is there is no additional procedure necessary to remove it because it stays in the body for the duration of radiation treatments and then is naturally absorbed by the body.
What Is the SpaceOAR Gel Made From?
SpaceOAR is made of two liquids that, when combined, form a soft gel-like synthetic material. Because it is mostly made of water, it is called a hydrogel. The material, which is biocompatible, has been used in other implants such as surgical sealants used on the eye, brain, and spine. SpaceOAR hydrogel is completely absorbed by the body in about six months.
What to Expect after Placement of SpaceOAR
Most men have few or no symptoms after SpaceOAR placement. A small percentage will have mild perineal discomfort or spotting of blood from the injection sites. Clinical trials showed that SpaceOAR hydrogel results in less rectal bleeding, improved bowel function, improvements in urinary function, and a higher likelihood of maintaining sexual function. As with any medical procedure, there are always some risks. You should check with your urologist for more details and to see if SpaceOAR is recommended for you.