If you’re experiencing problems with your urinary tract or reproductive organs, our experienced team of Houston men’s urologists can help.

Rectal Spacers

Rectal spacers provide protection during prostate cancer radiation treatment

The prostate gland, located directly below the bladder, is in front of the rectum. As a result, prostate cancer radiation treatment can damage the rectum. Thankfully, rectal spacers decrease the risk of damage during treatment. Our Houston urologists use spacers like SpaceOAR™ Hydrogel to help achieve the best results for patients. 

Rectal spacers help reduce the side effects of radiation therapy

SpaceOAR™ Hydrogel and other types of spacers create a space between the rectum and the prostate gland. This space remains in place during radiation treatments to reduce the amount of radiation exposure. Doing so also reduces potentially damaging side effects of the radiation. Here are some advantages of using spacers. 

  • Minimizes bowel and rectum complications like blood in the stool and chronic diarrhea. 
  • Reduces sexual side effects like the inability to get and maintain erections. 
  • Helps reduce urinary side effects like incontinence or urinary tract infections. 

Placing spacers before prostate cancer radiation treatment

Before patients begin radiation treatment for prostate cancer, they undergo the rectal spacer placement procedure. The minimally invasive procedure takes about 30 minutes. 

Our Houston urologists carefully place a needle in the space between the rectum and the prostate. They then inject a safe, water-based gel agent. The agent rapidly expands and solidifies into a temporary gel. This gel provides space and protection from prostate cancer radiation treatment.  

What to expect after the procedure

After a rectal spacer procedure, most patients don’t experience any discomfort beyond a temporary feeling of fullness in the rectal area or soreness at the injection site. Once the spacer is in place, it remains in place until it is naturally absorbed about three months after the placement. 

The kidneys filter the gel out of the body leaving nothing behind. Patients need someone to drive them home after the procedure. There are very few restrictions after the placement of rectal spacers. Additionally, most patients can resume their normal activities 24 hours after the procedure.  

Talk to our Houston urologists about prostate cancer treatment

Our highly trained and experienced physicians offer state-of-the-art diagnosis and treatment for prostate cancer. Using modern treatment devices, such as rectal spacers, improves the outcome of cancer therapy and quality of life.

Patients should talk to our caring physicians and staff if they suspect they have prostate cancer or need treatment. Contact us for an appointment.