Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

SpaceOAR® hydrogel (OAR stands for “organ at risk” which in this case is the rectum), helps protect your rectum during radiation treatments to the prostate. Naturally, you may have questions about how and why the procedure is done, and what to expect. This section will help to answer many of the questions you may have about the procedure. It is not intended to be a substitute for a thorough discussion with your doctor. If you don’t see the answer you’re looking for, please feel free to contact us or use our Find a Hospital tool to find a qualified doctor to talk to near you.

How can I access SpaceOAR Hydrogel

In the UK SpaceOAR Hydrogel is currently available through local funding in a number of NHS Trusts, within NHS hospitals and private hospitals patient self-pay (top-up payments) is also an option. It is also available through private medical insurance coverage on a case-by-case basis from major UK insurance companies.

If you are from outside the UK, please use our Find a Hospital tool or contact your local Augmenix representative to find out the product availability in your country.

Why Should I Have SpaceOAR Hydrogel?

The goal of radiation therapy is to maximise radiation to the prostate and to avoid radiating surrounding normal tissue. The prostate and rectum are very close and are only naturally separated by a small space. Due to this closeness, prostate radiation therapy can accidentally cause damage to the rectum. SpaceOAR hydrogel is a soft, gel-like material that temporarily moves the rectal wall away from the prostate during radiotherapy. By separating the prostate from the rectum, SpaceOAR hydrogel reduces the radiation dose delivered to the rectum and may eliminate or reduce damage to the rectum. It may also allow your doctor to enhance radiation treatment to your prostate to better target the cancer or to reduce the total number of treatment sessions.

“SpaceOAR hydrogel creates a greater distance between the prostate tumour and other tissues, enabling us to concentrate the radiotherapy dosage provided to the tumour and reduce the chance of radiation harming other tissues close to the prostate such as the bowel.” – Dr Suneil Jain, Honorary Consultant in Clinical Oncology, Queen’s University Belfast.

Is SpaceOAR Hydrogel Safe?

SpaceOAR hydrogel is made of two liquids that when combined form a soft, gel-like synthetic material that is mostly made of water. Because of its water content, it is called a hydrogel. The material that the SpaceOAR hydrogel is made from has been used in other implants such as surgical sealants used on the eye, brain and spine. Studies have shown that the material is biocompatible and can be used safely in the body.

What Are The Risks?

SpaceOAR is intended to temporarily position the anterior rectal wall away from the prostate during radiotherapy for prostate cancer, and in creating this space, SpaceOAR hydrogel intends to reduce the radiation dose delivered to the anterior rectum. The SpaceOAR hydrogel is composed of biodegradable material and maintains space for the entire course of prostate radiotherapy treatment. The patient’s body completely absorbs it over time.

Clinical data comparing patients with and without SpaceOAR hydrogel demonstrated the benefits of SpaceOAR hydrogel to include reduction of rectal toxicity resulting in improved bowel function, improvements in urinary function, and a higher likelihood to maintain sexual function.

Potential complications associated with SpaceOAR hydrogel include but are not limited to pain associated with SpaceOAR hydrogel injection; pain or discomfort associated with SpaceOAR hydrogel, needle penetration of the bladder, prostate, rectal wall, rectum, or urethra; injection of SpaceOAR hydrogel into the bladder, prostate, rectal wall, rectum, or urethra; local inflammatory reactions; infection; injection of air, fluid or SpaceOAR hydrogel intravascularly; urinary retention; rectal mucosal damage, ulcers, necrosis; bleeding; constipation; and rectal urgency.