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Ultrasound-Guided Placement of Radiation Therapy

Radiation therapy uses high doses of radiation to destroy cancer cells. Ultrasound is used to guide the placement of radioactive beads or needles (brachytherapy) directly into the cancerous tissue.

The radioactive beads are left in place and gradually decay, releasing radiation at the site of the tumor over a few days or weeks.

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Ultrasound uses reflected sound waves to produce an image of organs and other structures in the body. For this procedure, gel or oil is applied to the skin to help transmit the sound waves. A small handheld instrument called a transducer is passed back and forth over the area of the body being examined. The transducer sends out high-pitched sound waves (above the range of human hearing) that are reflected back to the transducer. A computer analyzes the sound waves and converts them into a picture the doctor uses to guide the placement of the beads or needles.

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Michael Seth Rabin, MD - Medical Oncology
Last Revised October 31, 2011

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: October 31, 2011
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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