All Medical Procedures

Prostate brachytherapy (brak-e-THER-uh-pee) is a form of radiation therapy used to treat prostate cancer. Prostate brachytherapy involves placing devices containing radiation in the prostate gland close to the cancer cells.

Prostate brachytherapy procedures vary based on the type of radiation you'll receive. Temporary prostate brachytherapy involves placing radioactive wires in the prostate gland for several minutes before the wires are removed. Permanent prostate brachytherapy involves placing radioactive seeds in the prostate gland permanently, where they slowly release radiation.

The goal of prostate brachytherapy is to place the radiation close to the cancer cells, where the radiation can kill the cancer cells while causing less damage to healthy tissue nearby. Prostate brachytherapy side effects can include difficulty urinating and erectile dysfunction.

Prostate laser surgery is used to relieve moderate to severe urinary symptoms caused by an enlarged prostate, a condition known as benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH).

During prostate laser surgery, your doctor inserts a scope through the tip of your penis into the tube that carries urine from your bladder (urethra). The urethra is surrounded by the prostate. A laser is passed through the scope. The laser delivers energy that is used to shrink or to remove the excess tissue that is blocking the urethra and preventing urine flow.

All lasers use concentrated light to generate precise and intense heat. Laser surgery removes excess prostate tissue by:

  • Ablation. The laser melts away excess tissue.
  • Enucleation. The laser cuts away excess prostate tissue.

There are different types of prostate laser surgery, such as:

  • Photoselective vaporization of the prostate (PVP). A laser is used to melt away (vaporize) excess prostate tissue to enlarge the urinary channel.
  • Holmium laser ablation of the prostate (HoLAP). This is a similar procedure to PVP, except that a different type of laser is used to melt away (vaporize) the excess prostate tissue.
  • Holmium laser enucleation of the prostate (HoLEP). The laser is used to cut and remove the excess tissue that is blocking the urethra. Another instrument, called a morcellator, is then used to chop the prostate tissue into small pieces that are easily removed.

The type of laser surgery your doctor will perform depends on several factors, including the size of your prostate, your health, the type of laser equipment available and your doctor's training.

A prothrombin time test measures how quickly your blood clots. Sometimes called a pro time test or PT test, a prothrombin time test uses a sample of your blood.

Prothrombin is a protein produced by your liver that helps your blood to clot. When you bleed, a series of chemicals (clotting factors) activate in a stepwise fashion. The end result is a clot which stops the bleeding. One step in the process is prothrombin turning into another protein called thrombin. The prothrombin time test measures how well the clotting process works and how long it takes to occur.

Psychotherapy is a general term for treating mental health problems by talking with a psychiatrist, psychologist or other mental health provider.

During psychotherapy, you learn about your condition and your moods, feelings, thoughts and behaviors. Psychotherapy helps you learn how to take control of your life and respond to challenging situations with healthy coping skills.

There are many specific types of psychotherapy, each with its own approach. The type of psychotherapy that's right for you depends on your individual situation. Psychotherapy is also known as talk therapy, counseling, psychosocial therapy or, simply, therapy.

The quad screen — also known as the quadruple marker test or simply the quad test — is a prenatal test that measures levels of four substances in a pregnant woman's blood:

  • Alpha-fetoprotein (AFP), a protein made by the developing baby
  • Human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG), a hormone made by the placenta
  • Estriol, a hormone made by the placenta and the baby's liver
  • Inhibin A, another hormone made by the placenta

Typically, the quad screen is done between weeks 15 and 20 of pregnancy — the second trimester.

Results of the quad screen indicate your risk of carrying a baby who has certain chromosomal conditions, such as Down syndrome. The alpha-fetoprotein part of the test can help detect neural tube defects, such as spina bifida.

If your risk level is low, the quad screen can offer reassurance of a healthy pregnancy.

If your risk level is moderate or high, you might choose to follow the quad screen with another test that's more definitive.

Radiation therapy is a type of cancer treatment that uses beams of intense energy to kill cancer cells. Radiation therapy most often gets its power from X-rays, but the power can also come from protons or other types of energy.

The term "radiation therapy" most often refers to external beam radiation therapy. During this type of radiation, the high-energy beams come from a machine outside of your body that aims the beams at a precise point on your body. During a different type of radiation treatment called brachytherapy (brak-e-THER-uh-pee), radiation is placed inside your body.

Radiation therapy damages cells by destroying the genetic material that controls how cells grow and divide. While both healthy and cancerous cells are damaged by radiation therapy, the goal of radiation therapy is to destroy as few normal, healthy cells as possible.

Radiation therapy for breast cancer uses high-powered X-rays to kill cancer cells. Rapidly growing cells, such as cancer cells, are more susceptible to the effects of radiation therapy than are normal cells.

One of two approaches may be used with radiation therapy for breast cancer:

  • External radiation. External beam radiation, the standard type of radiation therapy, delivers radiation in the form of high-powered energy beams, such as X-rays, to your entire breast from a machine outside your body. This is the most common type of radiation therapy used for breast cancer.
  • Internal radiation. Internal radiation (brachytherapy) involves temporarily placing small radioactive devices in your breast near the tumor site to deliver radiation to affected breast tissue. Internal radiation may be used as an extra radiation boost after external radiation or for small, contained tumors.

Radiation therapy may be used to treat breast cancer at almost every stage. It's an effective way to reduce your risk of breast cancer recurring after surgery. It can also help control the spread of breast cancer and offer pain relief for advanced breast cancer.

Radiofrequency neurotomy is a procedure to reduce back and neck pain. Heat generated by radio waves is used to target specific nerves and temporarily interfere with their ability to transmit pain signals.

The radio waves are delivered to the targeted nerves via needles inserted through the skin above your spine. Imaging scans are used during radiofrequency neurotomy to help the doctor position the needles precisely.

Radiofrequency neurotomy works better in some people than in others. Tests may be needed to determine if the nerves commonly targeted by radiofrequency neurotomy are the same nerves responsible for your pain.

Rectal prolapse surgery is a procedure to repair rectal prolapse. Rectal prolapse occurs when the last several inches of the large intestine (the rectum) becomes abnormally stretched and protrudes from the anus. Rectal prolapse surgery moves the rectum back to its proper place.

There are a number of ways to do rectal prolapse surgery. Your surgeon will suggest the appropriate one for you based on your condition and your overall health. Rectal prolapse surgery requires anesthesia and a hospital stay of one to several days.

Rhesus (Rh) factor is an inherited trait that refers to a specific protein found on the surface of red blood cells. If your blood has the protein, you're Rh positive — the most common Rh factor. If your blood lacks the protein, you're Rh negative.

Although Rh factor doesn't affect your health, it can affect pregnancy. Your pregnancy needs special care if you're Rh negative and your baby's father is Rh positive.

If you're pregnant, your health care provider will recommend an Rh factor test during your first prenatal visit. The Rh factor test is a basic blood test that indicates whether you're Rh positive or Rh negative.