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Prostate Cancer: Brachytherapy Discharge Instructions

You had a procedure called prostate brachytherapy. Your healthcare provider inserted tiny radioactive seeds into your prostate. Each seed is smaller than a grain of rice. They have radioactive material in them that kills the cancer. The seeds will lose their radioactivity over the next weeks and months. The seeds will stay in the prostate permanently, but will not harm you.  

Home care

Follow all your healthcare provider’s instructions. You may be told to:

  • Rest as needed. Recovery takes 1 to 2 days. It’s normal to feel tired.

  • Drink plenty of fluids for 2 days after your procedure.

  • Don’t lift anything heavy for a few days after your surgery.

  • Go back to your normal activities a few days after the procedure.

  • Follow the instructions given to you about straining your urine. And if you pass a seed in your urine, pick it up with tweezers and place it in the packet that was given to you. Save the packet to give to your healthcare provider at your next visit.

  • Expect some blood in your urine for 1 to 2 days following the surgery.

  • Expect some burning during urination or ejaculation for 1 to 2 days after surgery.

Living with seeds in your body

The seeds are giving off some radiation for a period of time. You may need to avoid close contact with children or pregnant women for a period of time. You may also need to wear a condom during intercourse for a period of time. Talk with your healthcare provider for details.

The seeds may also set off airport security systems. Ask your healthcare provider for a card or letter that says you have the seeds in your body. You can show this to security staff.

Call 911

Call 911 right away if you have

  • Chest pain

  • Shortness of breath

When to call your healthcare provider

Call your healthcare provider if you have any of the following:

  • Blood in your urine

  • Fever of 100.4°F (38°C) or higher, or as directed by your healthcare provider

  • New lumps, bumps, or swelling

  • Pain that doesn’t go away

  • Rectal bleeding

  • Severe nausea or vomiting

  • Skin rashes, bruises, or bleeding

  • Trouble urinating

Online Medical Reviewer: Alteri, Rick, MD
Online Medical Reviewer: Gersten, Todd, MD
Date Last Reviewed: 6/1/2017
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