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SpaceOAR® Hydrogel is a minimally invasive, soft gel that can reduce the short-term and long-term side-effects of radiotherapy for prostate cancer.

The London Clinic is the first hospital in the UK to offer patients this new treatment, which can prevent the development of distressing bowel symptoms, incontinence and erectile dysfunction.

Radiotherapy treats prostate cancer with high-energy X-rays. The radiation destroys cancerous cells, but it can also damage healthy cells in the surrounding organs surrounding. This can cause 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 rectum, so that radiation exposure is reduced.

With over 25,000 patients treated worldwide and over 60 published studies, SpaceOAR has shown that patients treated with hydrogel spacing prior to radiotherapy had less rectal pain, fewer long-term bowel complications, reduced urinary incontinence, improved sexual function and overall improved quality of life[1].

Why choose The London Clinic?

The London Clinic is dedicated to providing the best, personalised healthcare with over 600 world-renowned consultants available to offer informed health advice and treatment.

Spanning Harley Street and Devonshire Place, The London Clinic is situated in the heart of London’s internationally-known medical district. This central location, together with state-of-the art technologies and facilities that are not widely available in other hospitals, makes The London Clinic the hospital of choice for around 120,000 patients every year.

Offering affordable and competitive self-pay packages and expert support from Clinical Nurse Specialists and our specialised multidisciplinary team, 98% of our patients said they would recommend The London Clinic to their friends and families

Questions and concerns

Being diagnosed with cancer can be physically and emotionally draining. Coping with the symptoms of the illness and challenges of treatment can be difficult. Many patients are worried about having any extra procedures. However, treatment with SpaceOAR® can prevent further problems and protect your health and wellbeing.

How long will the gel stay in my body?

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.

Will it hurt?

The hydrogel is implanted with a fine 18-gauge needle. 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.

Is the gel safe?

SpaceOAR Hydrogel has been implanted in 25,000 men worldwide. It is CE Marked and NICE approved in the UK. The chemical components of the 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.

Treatment facts

Your specialist will insert the spacing gel between the prostate and the rectum as a short, outpatient procedure.

Diagram showing anatomy with or without SpaceOAR system

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, pushing the rectum away from the prostate. This keeps it away from the high-dose radiation area, so that healthy cells are protected from irradiation.

What are the treatment risks?

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.

In addition to the risks associated with any medical procedure there are potential complications that may be associated with the use of SpaceOAR System that include, but are not limited to:

  • pain or discomfort associated with SpaceOAR hydrogel;
  • needle penetration or injection of SpaceOAR hydrogel into the bladder, prostate, rectal wall, rectum or urethra;
  • local inflammatory reactions;
  • infection;
  • injection of air, fluid or SpaceOAR hydrogel intravascularly;
  • urinary retention;
  • rectal mucosal damage, ulcers, necrosis;
  • bleeding, constipation;
  • rectal urgency.

Treatment recovery

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.

SpaceOAR® treatment cost

Cancer care at The London Clinic may be covered by insurance. We also offer affordable, competitive self-pay packages for SpaceOAR® treatment. Please call +44 (0)20 3219 3315 to speak to our helpful team to find out more and to book an appointment

[1] Hamstra D, et al. Continued Benefit to Rectal Separation for Prostate RT: Final Results of a Phase III Trial. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys; Dec. 2016 DOI

Main switchboard: +44 (0) 207 935 4444

Treatment enquiries: +44 (0) 207 616 7693Consultant appointments: +44 (0) 207 616 7693 Prices for self funding patients: +44 (0) 203 219 3315Physiotherapy appointments: +44 (0) 207 616 7651X-ray and scan appointments: +44 (0) 207 616 7653Invoice and payment enquiries: +44 (0) 207 616 7708

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