Brachytherapy (derived from the Greek term brachios, meaning short) is defined as the treatment of tumors through the placement of radioactive sources into or close to the malignant lesion.
The main advantage of brachytherapy is based on the inverse squared law inherent to radioactive sources, which allows the delivery of a very high dose of radiation to the tumor with a substantial sparing of the surrounding normal tissues. Historically, brachytherapy has evolved from hot loading (i.e. manual placement of radioactive devices into the patient) to remote afterloading. In remote afterloading, non-radioactive applicators are inserted into the tumor; these applicators are then loaded using mechanically driven, computer-controlled equipment after dosimetry is approved.
From the radiation safety standpoint, remote afterloading eliminates the radiation hazards for both the hospital staff and visitors, and allows more convenient access to the patient.
CITATION Ann Oncol. 2005;16 Suppl 2:ii73-8