Seed Implants have been used to treat prostate cancer for over 70 years, with pioneers in New York City first using small seeds containing radioactive radon gas. Seed brachytherapy, however, remained a little-used treatment until the development of modern techniques and equipment in the mid 1980s.

The most important innovation was the development in Denmark of the “trans-perineal” approach, under ultrasound guidance. This method allowed radioactive seeds to be placed much more accurately than had previously been the case and without a big operation. When this approach was combined with a newer isotope – iodine-125 – and more advanced radiation-planning computers, the new technique revolutionised prostate brachytherapy.

This type of seed brachytherapy was brought to the United States by a small group in Seattle and by the early 1990s, favourable reports from this group led to its rapid spread to clinics across the USA, and now around the world.

Now the published results for men treated in multiple clinics around the world show control rates on a par with the same group of men treated with radical prostatectomy.


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