The Clinica Universidad de Navarra is a reference centre at an international level for its experience in Intraoperative Brachytherapy treatment.
It was the first Spanish centre to carry out Intraoperative Brachytherapy, which notably reduces the time required for administering radiotherapy.
It consists in partially irradiating the tumour thanks to the implantation of minimally invasive catheters, in the same surgical procedure in which the tumour is removed.
During the surgery, 5-10 plastic tubes are implanted into the surgical cavity where they remain after the removal of the tumour, as there is a risk of contracting residual microscopic tumorous diseases which have not been removed by the surgeon. These tubes are fixed in the surgical cavity and are extracted from the surface or in surgical drainage.
After the operation, when the patient is in a good condition to move around, a planning CT scan is done to verify that the plastic tubes have been correctly positioned and are at a distance from the normal tissue which is unaffected by the tumour. With this scan, a personalised dosimetry is carried out.
A pathological anatomy report is created, after which specialists decide if it will be necessary to treat the patient using intraoperative brachytherapy, the necessary dosage and the possible benefits of combining the treatment with radiotherapy and chemotherapy one month after the operation.
The Clínica is one of the first centres in Spain to use Accelerated Partial Postoperative Brachytherapy for breast cancer, which consists in the partial irradiation of the breast using catheters, in the same surgery in which the tumour was removed.
Afterwards, the catheters allow for the administration, on an out-patient basis, of the total radiation necessary in a period of 5 days (2 daily sessions), compared with the six weeks which are necessary for conventional radiotherapy.
The radiation is administered using a small radioactive source of iridium which moves through the inside of the implanted catheters. The radiation treatment is planned using a 3D navigator of the breast which allows for the very precise allocation of high dose rate radiation in the areas which need it the most, reducing the radiation on healthy organs like the skin, heart and lungs.