Cryosurgery for Prostate Cancer Treatment

Cryosurgery for ProstateCryosurgery is a breakthrough prostate cancer treatment that is a proven, minimally invasive alternative to surgical treatments and radiation treatment. Cryosurgery incorporates the use of slim probes known as 'cryoprobes' that periodically deliver cycles of extremely cold and warm temperatures to repeatedly freeze and thaw cancerous cells within and surrounding the prostate gland– ultimately destroying the cancerous cells.

Utilizing ultrasound technology to guide the treatment, the probes are strategically inserted through the skin and placed in and around the prostate. This tactical placement of the cryoprobes allows your surgeon to target the prostate gland while minimizing damage to surrounding tissue.

Through completion of two or more freeze/thaw cycles, cancerous cells are killed and the remaining tissue is either absorbed by the body or remains as scar tissue, no longer posing a threat to the patient.

The cryosurgery procedure is performed under general or epidural anesthesia. Because this procedure is relatively short (usually lasting 1 to 1.5 hours) and is minimally invasive in nature, you will experience reduced side-effects, including incontinence and/or impotence, and a faster recovery. Many patients are discharged the same day as their procedure or the following day.

Following cryosurgery, patients are instructed to administer ice packs to the scrotal and perennial areas for 3-5 days and will be instructed to take prescription or over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications for up to one week. Patients will be equipped with a suprapubic or foley catheter for up to one week following the procedure.

Cryosurgery Video

Immediate side effects of cryosurgery may include:

  • Swelling surrounding the scrotum and perineum for up to two weeks
  • Discomfort when sitting for 1-2 weeks
  • Urinary retention

Long-term side effects of cryosurgery may include:

  • Initial impotency rate of 82 percent to 100 percent of patients – however, 47 percent of patients recover
    from impotency within 3 years
  • TURP needed in 1 - 5.5 percent of patients (Transurethral Electro-Resection of the Prostate)
  • Urethrorectal fistula in 0 - 0.25 percent of patients
  • 1 - 4 percent of patients experience long-term incontinence

Unlike radiation therapy or a radical prostatectomy procedure, cryosurgery can be repeated if necessary. According to clinical data regarding locally confined high-grade prostate cancer, cryosurgery offers the highest average long-term success rates for all stages of localized prostate cancer.

Clif Vestal, M.D.

Clif Vestal, M.D.

Dr. Vestal has experience with all types of cancer therapies, including laparoscopic cryosurgery of kidney and prostate cancers as well as brachytherapy of the prostate.
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Rich Bevan-Thomas, M.D. Rich Bevan-Thomas, M.D.

Dr. Bevan-Thomas, a board-certified urologist, specializes in a variety of cancer treatments, including robotic surgery and cryosurgery.
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