Specialist in Prostate Cancer Radiation Therapy with SpaceOAR Hydrogel

Mark Allen, MD

If you have been diagnosed with prostate cancer and are concerned about accidental damage to the rectum that can be a side effect of radiation therapy, the use of a SpaceOAR Hydrogel rectal spacer can alleviate your concerns. Prostate cancer and radiation therapy specialist Dr. Mark Allen can help you determine if SpaceOAR Hydrogel can eliminate or reduce damage to your rectum and possibly enhance radiation treatment to the prostate by better targeting the cancer.

SpaceOAR® Hydrogel Rectal Spacer

SpaceOAR® Hydrogel is a temporary injectable gel spacer placed between the prostate and the rectum that reduces damage to the rectum caused by radiation treatment.  Patients in the Plano, Dallas and Frisco, Texas area undergoing radiotherapy can receive this treatment by urologist Dr. Mark Allen.  SpaceOAR® is injected before the start of radiation treatment and placed between the prostate and the rectum. This injection acts as a spacer, limiting the amount of radiation exposure to the rectum.  Placement of SpaceOAR® Hydrogel can be done as an outpatient procedure when a patient is awake or asleep under general anesthesia.

SpaceOAR Hydrogel


What is Radiation Therapy?

Radiation therapy is a type of non-invasive cancer treatment that uses high-energy rays or particles to kill cancer cells. It is commonly used and is highly effective as a treatment for prostate cancer. There are various types of therapy available including external beam radiation therapy (EBRT), proton beam radiation therapy, and brachytherapy. The most common side effect of radiation treatment for prostate cancer is damage to the rectum due to its location just below the prostate.  Because of this proximity, radiation delivered to the prostate tumor frequently affects the rectum.  The resulting side effects can be temporary or long term.  Damage effects include bowel complications such as diarrhea, bleeding, and pain.  SpaceOAR® Hydrogel can be used with any of these radiotherapy modalities to lessen the impact of these side effects.

What are the benefits of SpaceOAR® Hydrogel?

When receiving radiation therapy, the goal is to maximize radiation therapy to the prostate while avoiding radiating surrounding normal tissue.  Due to the closeness of the prostate and the rectum, radiation therapy can accidentally cause damage to the rectum. SpaceOAR Hydrogel acts as a spacer designed to reduce the amount of radiation delivered to the rectum.  This rectum-saving barrier may not only eliminate or reduce damage to the rectum but may also enhance radiation treatment to the prostate better targeting the cancer.  This could result in reducing the number of treatment sessions needed. In clinical studies, patients who received the SpaceOAR Hydrogel injection were found to have improvements in urinary function, reduction of rectal toxicity resulting in improved bowel function, and a higher likelihood to maintain sexual function when compared to those who did not receive it.

What is the composition of SpaceOAR®?

SpaceOAR® Hydrogel is made of non-toxic polyethylene glycol (PEG).  PEG is commonly used in both cosmetics and drugs because it is both non-toxic and well-tolerated by the body.  SpaceOAR® Hydrogel is injected as a liquid that, within seconds, solidifies.  This soft, gel-like material expands to create a rectum-sparing barrier between the prostate and the rectum.  Once placed, SpaceOAR® Hydrogel remains as a soft gel for about three months.  After three months, the gel begins to liquefy and by six months the hydrogel is naturally absorbed by the body and cleared via the urine.

What are SpaceOAR® Hydrogel Side Effects and/ or Risks?

As with any medical procedure/ device, there are possible risks involved.  These risks include, but are not limited to:  pain around the injection site , pain or discomfort associated with SpaceOAR hydrogel, needle penetration of the bladder, rectal wall, rectum, prostate, or urethra; injection of SpaceOAR hydrogel into the prostate, rectal wall, rectum, bladder, or urethra; local inflammatory reactions; infection; injection of air, fluid or SpaceOAR hydrogel intravascularly; urinary retention; rectal mucosal damage, ulcers, necrosis; bleeding; constipation; and rectal urgency.

If you live in the Plano, Frisco and Dallas, Texas area and have been diagnosed with prostate cancer, or would like to get answers to your questions about prostate cancer treatment and/or SpaceOAR Hydrogel for Rectum-Sparing Prostate RadioTherapy, please contact Dr. Mark Allen today.