SpaceOAR hydrogel spacing treatment for prostate cancer
SpaceOAR® is an innovative protective agent that can reduce the side-effects of radiotherapy for prostate cancer. The London Clinic is the first hospital in the UK to offer patients this treatment, which can prevent the development of distressing bowel symptoms.
Due to SpaceOAR requiring expert planning, knowledge and use of our in-house advanced MRI imaging, SpaceOAR is only available as part of a course of radiotherapy at The London Clinic.
Radiotherapy treats prostate cancer with high-energy X-rays. The radiation destroys cancerous cells, but it can also damage healthy cells, causing irritation and ulceration in the part of the bowel behind the prostate.
Patients can suffer pain, bleeding, diarrhoea and incontinence - a condition known as radiation proctitis.
SpaceOAR is a high-tech hydrogel that is injected into the space 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.
Studies have shown that patients treated with SpaceOAR prior to radiotherapy had less rectal pain, fewer long-term bowel complications and improved quality of life.
Why choose The London Clinic
Excellence in one place
We operate as teams of experts with world-class resources dedicated to maintaining the highest standards of medical care. You are surrounded by the latest treatments and advice with everything you need to get back to your best health.
Personal care, every time
Exceptional patient care is a way of life for us. Our nurses, clinicians and support teams are dedicated to the care of a very small number of patients, so have more time for you. They’ll be with you every step of the way, tailoring your care around you and giving the peace-of-mind that comes with knowing you’re in the best hands.
We work together as one to guide you through each step of your experience, with complexities unravelled and answers readily to hand. Your personal treatment plan will be laid out for you, with all the details taken care of so you can focus on you.
What's included in your package?
Choosing The London Clinic means your treatment plan will be laid out for you, with all the details taken care of so you can focus on you.
Your treatment package will include:
- Enhanced pre-admission assessment
- Your treatment with our complete care team at your fingertips
- Personalised aftercare and follow-up
We want you to be in control of your health. That’s why we also offer optional services such as comprehensive recovery packages and extra touches for you to choose from during your stay with us.
How to pay
- You can use private medical insurance (PMI) to access this treatment. We work with all major PMI providers in the UK and many internationally
- You can pay for yourself (self-pay)
- If you’re paying for yourself, we have finance options available with Chrysalis
The SpaceOAR hydrogel will stay in place for three months, to protect your rectum during your course of radiotherapy.
After six months, the gel is gradually absorbed by the body. It is then broken down and safely excreted in the urine.
Even with local anaesthetic the procedure should not be painful. The area will be numbed, so you will only feel the prick of the needle when the local is inserted.
Some people feel a little discomfort afterwards, but most men are able to get straight back to normal activities.
The chemical components of the SpaceOAR hydrogel have been used extensively in surgical treatments elsewhere in the body, including the spine and the eye.
Scientific studies have shown that the material can be used safely in the prevention of radiation damage.
Your specialist will insert the spacing gel between the prostate and the rectum as a short, outpatient procedure.
The injection can be done with local, regional or general anaesthetic. Your consultant will advise you about the best approach in your case, always considering your feelings and your general health.
After cleaning the area, your consultant will inject the liquid gel through the perineum between the prostate and the rectum.
The needle is fine and ultrasound scans will be used to ensure the gel is correctly positioned.
Once in place, the gel acts like a cushion, holding the rectum away from the prostate.
This keeps it away from the high-dose radiation area, so that healthy cells are protected from damage.
There are risks with any procedure. Our surgeons, together with our experienced anaesthetists and nursing staff work to minimise these and support your safe recovery.
- Bleeding: This is unusual and usually settles with local pressure.
- Pain: Some people find the gel uncomfortable after insertion, however over-the-counter painkillers can help with symptom control.
- Incorrect placement of the gel: This is rare because of the use of ultrasound guidance.
- However, the manufacturers report occasional problems with injection into the bowel, bladder or blood vessels. This can cause pain, inflammation and tissue damage in these areas.
- Bowel symptoms: Occasionally the hydrogel can cause bowel disturbance including constipation and bowel urgency.
Most people are discharged from The London Clinic on the same day as the procedure. You should expect to go straight back to normal activities.
Your specialist will see you before discharge and will advise you if you should take particular precautions.