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SpaceOAR Hydrogel Spacer

As part of your precision radiotherapy treatment (including proton beam therapy and radiotherapy), the Rutherford Cancer Centres can offer the  SpaceOAR Hydrogel Spacer to help enable optimum results for those patients being treated for prostate cancer.

What is a SpaceOAR Spacer?

In precision radiotherapy, spacers can be used to help temporarily position vital organs and healthy tissue away from the treatment area, these are anatomically in close proximity to the target area and at risk of being exposed to an unintended radiation dose.

SpaceOAR Hydrogel is an option for men undergoing precision radiotherapy for prostate cancer, acting as a spacer for the preservation of healthy tissue and reducing potential side-effects from radiation exposure.

The spacer is a unique, soft, gel-like material (an absorbable hydrogel) that is specifically engineered to temporarily create space between the prostate and the rectum, protecting the rectum from high-dose radiation exposure during precision radiotherapy for prostate cancer. The hydrogel spacer remains in place for about three months and is naturally absorbed in the body after approximately six months. Proton beam therapy and radiotherapy technology improve treatment accuracy and effectiveness, the addition of a hydrogel spacer can further help to deliver the best results for your prostate cancer treatment.

A hydrogel spacer has also been shown to enable radiation dose delivery when undergoing a Seven-Fraction treatment schedule (sometimes also known as ‘hypofractionation’ – a higher dose radiation treatment delivered over less sessions or appointments). Allowing the radiation dose delivery to be escalated while positioning healthy organs and tissue outside of the high dose region.


If you’d like to find out more about the SpaceOAR Hydrogel Spacer, or about any of the treatments we offer
please don’t hesitate to get in touch. Call us on 0800 210 0402 or


How is SpaceOAR Hydrogel delivered?

Deploying SpaceOAR Hydrogel is a quick and minimally invasive procedure that takes around 30 minutes.

Our urologists use a fine 18G needle to insert the gel spacer between the prostate and the rectum. The gel spacer stays in position during the course of treatment. This takes place under general or local anaesthesia. The gel spacer 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.

Once treatment has completed, there is no need to remove the hydrogel spacer, as it stays in place for around three months. After that, it’s naturally absorbed by the body, and you can continue to go about your daily life as usual. The procedure is normally performed at one of our partner hospitals, and its an outpatient procedure so no overnight stay is required.

The benefits of SpaceOAR Hydrogel

With SpaceOAR Hydrogel in place, your consultant and treatment team can begin your treatment, with the gel spacer helping to deliver optimum results and reducing the risks of the following side-effects:

  • 67% of men maintained sexual potency *** ³
  • 73% relative reduction in rectal v70 * ¹ (the measurement of rectal tissue receiving a high dose of radiation)
  • 66% fewer clinically significant declines in urinary QOL ** ²
  • 0% Late Grade 2 or higher rectal toxicity ²

Additional benefits:

  • Gives complete control over the position and location of the spacer, which is maintained throughout the course of treatment
  • Creates a space of up to 1 cm in the region of the treatment area, ideal for reducing the risk of radiation-related side-effects such as rectal urgency, urinary incontinence and sexual dysfunction

For further information visit: spaceoar.com/patients

Is it suitable for all patients?

SpacOAR Hydrogel can support your prostate cancer treatment and reduce the risks of side-effects compared to when having proton beam therapy or radiotherapy, and not using a spacer. However, a spacer solution isn’t for everyone, so it’s best to seek advice from your consultant on the most appropriate treatment options.

Is it safe?

SpaceOAR Hydrogel spacer is made from material has been used in other implants such as surgical sealant and can be used safely in the body. The gel spacer is absorbed in the body after six months of deployment, so no need for surgical removal. SpaceOAR Hydrogel is clinically proven to minimise side effects, for more information please visit: spaceoar.com/what-is-spaceoar-hydrogel/spaceoar-clinical-studies/.


If you’d like to find out more about the SpaceOAR Hydrogel Spacer, or about any of the treatments we offer
please don’t hesitate to get in touch. Call us on 0800 210 0402 or


1 Mariados, N. et al. 2015. 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. International Journal of Radiation Oncology biology physics. 92(5), pp. 971 – 977.

2 Hamstra, D. et al. 2017. Continued Benefit to Rectal Separation for Prostate Radiation Therapy: Final Results of a Phase III Trial Hamstra, Daniel A et al International Journal of Radiation Oncology. Practical Radiation Oncology. 97(5), pp. 976 – 985.

3 Hamstra, D. et al. 2018. Sexual quality of life following prostate intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) with a rectal/prostate spacer: Secondary analysis of a phase 3 trial. Practical Radiation Oncology. 8(1), pp. 7 – 15.

* average reduction when comparing pre and post-spacer treatment plans.
** defined as 2x the minimally important difference compared to control patients.
*** compared to 38% in the control group; of men who had erections sufficient for intercourse at baseline; median 3 years

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If you'd like to speak to us about any of the treatments we offer please don’t hesitate to get in touch. Call us on 0800 210 0402 or

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