Understanding prostate fiducial markers

To effectively treat prostate cancer, doctors need a clear and accurate view of the prostate during radiation for prostate cancer. To help improve this view, you may have a procedure to place tiny metal (typically gold) spheres, coils, or cylinders, known as fiducial markers, in your prostate.

Fiducial markers help your treatment team line up the radiation beams to make sure your radiation therapy is delivered the same way each time. This helps them target your tumor with greater accuracy enabling the team to deliver the maximum radiation dose to the tumor while avoiding your healthy tissue surrounding the cancer. The fiducial markers are about the size of a grain of rice and will remain in your prostate after treatment.

Section 1

The fiducial markers procedure

Fiducial markers are placed with an image-guided procedure. Under anesthesia, your doctor will gently insert a probe into your rectum. The probe uses ultrasound (sound waves) to show your doctor images of your prostate to guide fiducial marker placement. Using the ultrasound probe for guidance, your doctor will use a thin needle to implant the fiducial markers into your prostate. The procedure will take around 15 minutes.1

Your doctor’s office will give you all preparation and aftercare instructions prior to your fiducial markers placement.

View of the prostate with fiducial markers in place to help target the tumor
Section 2

Fiducial markers & Barrigel

Barrigel, a rectal spacer for radiation therapy used to separate the rectum from the prostate, may be implanted at the same time as your fiducial markers placement.

Illustration showing a top-down view of the Barrigel spacer separating the prostate and rectum

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  1. Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. About Your Prostate Fiducial Marker Placement. www.mskcc.org. Accessed: August 1, 2021. https://www.mskcc.org/cancer-care/patient-education/about-your-prostate-fiducial-marker-placement