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How Does HDR Brachytherapy Work?
For High-Dose Rate (HDR) Brachytherapy, thin catheters or an applicator is placed in or around a tumor. These are then connected to a machine called an HDR afterloader. This machine contains a single highly radioactive iridium source at the end of a wire. The source is pushed into each of the catheters one by one under computer control.
The computer controls how long the pellet stays in each catheter (dwell time), and where along the catheter it should pause to release its radiation (dwell positions).
With a few well-placed catheters in the tumor, HDR brachytherapy can provide a very precise treatment that takes only a few minutes. After a series of treatments, the catheters are removed, and there are no radioactive seeds or even radiation left in the body.