Brachytherapy High Dose Rate (HDR)

High-dose-rate (HDR) brachytherapy is a type of internal radiation therapy that is able to deliver high doses of radiation directly to the tumor, sparing much of the surrounding healthy tissue.
HDR procedures involve placing a radioactive source in or near the area to be treated. Many types of cancer can be treated with HDR, including breast cancer, cervical cancer and prostate cancer.
What Are the Advantages of HDR?
HDR brachytherapy allows for shorter treatment time and less radiation exposure to healthy tissue by placing a temporary radioactive source in or near the area to be treated. This ensures that radiation doses are delivered in shorter periods of time.
For example, partial breast treatment (for those who meet the criteria) is given to cancerous tissue for five days versus the traditional six weeks, while minimizing exposure to healthy tissue.
How Does HDR Work?
In HDR brachytherapy, radiation is delivered to the cancerous tumor through an applicator that is placed in or near the tumor inside the body. Using computer software, physicians are able to determine how and where the radiation should be administered.
The radiation is delivered directly to the tumor through the applicator, allowing greater amounts of radiation to be delivered over a shorter period of time while leaving the surrounding healthy tissue unbothered.


Multidisciplinary collaboration within the Department of Radiation Oncology and with other institutions results in scientific research that is translated to the outstanding clinical care we provide. In addition, our standard of care is routinely assessed and updated to ensure that we continue to offer the most effective services to our patients.

Learn more about the variety of radiation therapies available at Houston Methodist.