CONTURA is a catheter used to deliver High Dose-Rate (HDR) Brachytherapy to the breast after surgery to remove the primary tumor. A balloon catheter is inserted into the site of your lumpectomy. Breast tumors are seldom perfectly round, so lumpectomy cavities are often irregularly shaped. CONTURA has a special vacuum feature that gently pulls breast tissue into contact with the balloon surface, improving radiation delivery to the surgery area.
After the breast tumor is removed, a small, Contura balloon catheter is placed inside the lumpectomy cavity through a small incision in the breast. The balloon is “inflated” with a saltwater solution so that it fits snugly into the cavity. It remains inflated during the 5-day treatment. Your Northwest Cancer Clinic treatment team will take images of the Contura balloon catheter in the breast and determine the amount of radiation needed.
During therapy, the portion of the Contura catheter that remains outside your breast is connected to a computer-controlled HDR machine. This machine delivers radiation in the form of tiny pellets inserted into the catheter at multiple depths for various lengths of time.
You will receive two treatments each day, six hours apart for five days. Once each treatment is complete, the sealed pellets are removed through the Contura catheter and the catheter is unplugged from the machine. You are free to return to your normal daily activities. No hospital stay is required. No radiation remains inside your breast in between treatments. After your treatment, your Contura balloon catheter will be gently removed through the same incision made to place it.