SpaceOAR Hydrogel

What is SpaceOAR Hydrogel?

When treating prostate cancer patients with radiation therapy, the goal is to destroy the cancer cells while avoiding damage to surrounding healthy tissue. SpaceOAR Hydrogel is a polyethylene glycol (PEG) based hydrogel clinically shown to minimize urinary, sexual and bowel side effects and protect quality of life for patients undergoing radiation therapy for prostate cancer.



How Does SpaceOAR Hydrogel Work?

The prostate is next to the rectum and naturally separated by a small space. Due to the proximity, prostate radiation therapy can unintentionally cause damage to the rectum, which can lead to issues with bowel function.

The hydrogel spacer pushes the rectum away from the prostate and is designed to decrease rectal injury during prostate radiation therapy.

By pushing the prostate farther from the rectum, the radiation dose delivered to the rectum is reduced, which may help minimize the side effects of radiation therapy.



What is Space OAR made of?

SpaceOAR Hydrogel is an FDA-cleared medical device made mostly of water and polyethylene glycol (PEG) that, when combined, form a soft gel-like synthetic material. PEG is a material commonly used in other medical products. You should discuss any known allergies you may have to the SpaceOAR Hydrogel ingredients with your urologist.

How is SpaceOAR Hydrocel implanted?

The procedure is performed in le Centre Métropolitain de Chirurgie, in Montreal.

The patient is placed in a supine position with legs elevated in stirrups to expose the perineal region. Firstly, your urologist inserts an endorectal ultrasound probe to clearly visualize the region. An endorectal ultrasound consists of obtaining images of the prostate using an ultrasound probe inserted through the anus into the rectum.

Secondly, after disinfection of the perineal region with proviodine, local anesthesia of the skin and perineum is carried out using a skin injector, followed by a subcutaneous injection of xylocaine on each side of the perineum.

Finally, the hydrogel is injected slowly between the rectum and the prostate, up to about 1,0 centimeter of thickness.

What are the advantages of having SpaceOAR Hydrogel before radiotherapy?

  • Fewer long-term side effects
  • More likely to report maintenance of sexual function
  • Significantly lower decline in urinary and bowel function

What happens to the SpaceOAR Hydrogel after the radiation treatments?

The material is biodegradable and is designed to be absorbed and leave your body naturally after about 6 months.


American Cancer Society. Radiation Therapy for Prostate Cancer. Accessed September 9, 2021.

Mariados N, Sylvester J, Shah D, et al. Hydrogel spacer prospective multicenter randomized controlled pivotal trial: Dosimetric and clinical effects of perirectal spacer application in men undergoing prostate image guided intensity modulated radiation therapy. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2015 Aug 1;92(5):971-7.

Hamstra DA, Mariados N, Sylvester J, et al. Continued benefit to rectal separation for prostate radiation therapy: Final results of a phase III trial. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2017 Apr 1;97(5):976-85.

Hamstra DA, Mariados N, Sylvester J, et al. Sexual quality of life following prostate intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) with a rectal/prostate spacer: Secondary analysis of a phase 3 trial. Pract Radiat Oncol. 2018 Jan - Feb;8(1):e7-e15.

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