Complications following permanent prostate brachytherapy

Eur Urol. 2002 Apr;41(4):427-33. doi: 10.1016/s0302-2838(02)00019-2.


Objectives: The acute and chronic complications of permanent prostate brachytherapy are discussed.

Materials and methods: Review of literature for the complications associated with iodine-125 (125I) and palladium-103 (103Pd) prostate brachytherapy. Acute complications included urinary retention, changes in the International Prostate Symptom Score (IPSS) and need for TURP. Chronic morbidity included permanent urinary symptoms, incontinence, radiation proctitis and erectile dysfunction.

Results: Urinary retention occurred in 1.5-22% of the patients postimplant. Acute urinary symptoms increased by over 100% 1 month after the procedure. By 12 months, the symptoms were either back to baseline or slightly elevated in over 90% of the patients. Significant obstructive symptoms or persistent urinary retention necessitating TURP occurred in 0-8.7%. Urinary incontinence was found in 0-19% treated by implant without associated TURP, in 0-85% for those who had a TURP prior to the implant and in 0-17% for those who had the TURP subsequent to the implant. Potency rates ranged from 34% to 86% 1-6 years postimplant. Radiation proctitis was found in 0.5-21.4%, with significant injury (fistula) occurring in 1-2.4%.

Conclusions: The data from this report suggests that permanent prostate brachytherapy can be accomplished with minimal short- and long-term morbidity. Attention to detail as well as an appreciation to the causative factors for the morbidity will help reduce treatment-related side effects.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Brachytherapy / adverse effects*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / radiotherapy*
  • Time Factors