Jefferson University Hospitals


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Brachytherapy Suite

For the most advanced brachytherapy treatment in Philadelphia, turn to the highly skilled radiation oncologists at Jefferson.

Brachytherapy has been shown to be highly effective in treating many types of cancer. In addition, our skilled medical experts are the only team in Pennsylvania, Delaware and New Jersey who use the treatment – known as coronary brachytherapy – to reduce the scar tissue that develops with in-stent restenosis.

When treating cancer, brachytherapy is particularly effective for small, localized tumors. It works by targeting the cancerous tumor from inside the body.

The source of radiation, in the form of radioactive seeds, is placed directly inside or next to the tumor. This approach reduces the risk of damage to healthy tissue and organs that are close to the tumor.

At Jefferson, our team of radiation oncologists, physicists and dosimetrists (who calculate the dose of radiation to make sure your tumor gets enough radiation) plan and deliver brachytherapy by using computer-based technology. This ensures there are no mistakes.

Brachytherapy has many advantages over traditional surgical techniques, such as:

  • Eliminating the need for prolonged hospitalization
  • Offering greater patient comfort during treatment
  • Delivering treatment in minutes, not days or weeks
  • Minimal recovery time

Brachytherapy Suites

One of the many advantages of receiving treatment at Jefferson is our new image-guided Brachytherapy suites, located at the Bodine Center for Radiation Therapy in Center City Philadelphia as well as our Riddle, Pa. location. These dedicated treatment rooms offer imaging, advanced treatment planning and superior quality assurance for targeting tumors – all in one place.

Our state-of-the-art suites also feature OR lighting, a skylight image of a sunny day centered on the ceiling and customizable music for you to enjoy. A treatment planning room is next door with audio and visual, should you need assistance during treatment.

Treatment Types for Brachytherapy

The types of treatment we offer for brachytherapy are:

  • Permanent – tiny radioactive seeds, the size of a grain of rice, are placed into the tumor. The seeds give off low levels of radiation for a few months, killing the cancer cells. This is commonly used in prostate cancer.
  • Temporary – the source of radiation is delivered to the tumor, and then removed after a few minutes
  • LDR (low-dose rate) – commonly used to treat prostate and lung cancer. Small radioactive seeds (about the size of a grain of rice) are inserted into the tumor. The seeds are left inside the tumor and give out low levels of radiation for a few months, which kills the cancer.
  • HDR (high-dose rate) – used to treat a variety of cancers. It delivers a higher dose of radiation directly inside or next to the tumor for a short time. HDR brachytherapy can also be used with external beam radiation therapy to provide an additional targeted dose of radiation.

What is Coronary Brachytherapy?

Coronary brachytherapy is a complex procedure that requires experienced interventional cardiologists and radiation oncologists to precisely deliver short bursts of radiation to the artery using a heart catheter in an effort to reduce the scarring that has formed and widen the artery. The goal of the treatment is to limit the overgrowth of normal tissue as the healing process occurs.

Our medical experts at the Jefferson Angioplasty Center and Department of Radiation Oncology are among the first in the world to perform coronary brachytherapy, which is also known as intravascular brachytherapy.

If you've received multiple in-stent restenosis treatments, you may be eligible for this type of treatment.

To learn more about coronary brachytherapy, please call 1-800-JEFF-NOW (1-800-533-3669) to speak with a representative who will assist you with an appointment.