Cryosurgery for prostate cancer is also known as cryotherapy. It is a minimally invasive surgical procedure that uses extremely cold gas to freeze and destroy the prostate. With cryosurgery for prostate cancer, transrectal ultrasound is used to map and guide needles through the area between the anus and scrotum so that the cold gases can be directed to the prostate.
During this procedure, a Urologist will use an ultra-thin metal probe or needle and insert it into the prostate gland. The procedure requires an incision to be made between the anus and scrotum. Because the procedure involves extremely cold temperatures, there will be a warm saline solution that is inserted into the catheter during the operation in order to protect the urethra from the cold temperatures. With the help of images produced by the ultrasound, the Urologist will use this to guide the probe or needle during the procedure. Once inside, there will be a freezing liquid, such as liquid nitrogen or argon gas, which is infused through the probe and into the prostate gland. This works to kill any cancerous tissue or cells by freezing the prostate. The ultrasound images help identify the cancerous tissues within the prostate gland while limiting any damage to the healthy prostate tissue.
This procedure is recommended for men with prostate cancer that is in an early stage, men who have prostate cancer that is confined to the prostate and has not spread outside to nearby organs or distant organs, and men with other health issues such as diabetes, heart disease, or lung disease who may not be suitable candidates for surgery. This procedure is also a good treatment for men who have already had radiation therapy and whose prostate cancer has come back. However, men who have never had treatment for prostate cancer may also receive this treatment as well.
The pros of having this procedure are that it is a minimally invasive procedure, and that it works by freezing and destroying the cancer tissue. The cons of having this procedure are that the intense freezing can also cause damage to nearby healthy cells and organs such as the urethra and bladder, and the freezing can damage nerves and cause a higher probability of erectile dysfunction.