Cryotherapy (also called cryosurgery or cryoablation), a minimally invasive form of prostate cancer treatment, is one of many therapy options available to patients living in or around the region of Phoenix, Arizona. In this state-of-the-art procedure, cancerous cells within the prostate are frozen and destroyed. Used as both a primary and salvage prostate cancer treatment, cryoablation is typically reserved for those cases of organ-confined cancer or prostate cancer that is radio-resistant.
During a cryoablation procedure, ultra-thin needles are inserted into the prostate gland through the perineum. Using the aid of a transrectal ultrasound, the cryotherapy surgeons of Academic Urology & Urogynecology of Arizona carefully target the areas of malignancy within the prostate. Freezing argon gas then circulates through the needles, creating ice balls that rupture affected cell membranes. The targeted area is thawed and the process repeated to ensure cell death. To protect the urethra during the procedure, a catheter containing warming saline solution is put in place. Due to its minimally invasive nature, cryotherapy for prostate cancer is often performed on an out-patient basis under general or regional anesthesia.
Due to the location of the prostate, impotence and incontinence are known complications of cryotherapy. But, with today’s advances in image-guided technology, qualified urologic surgeons, like those of Academic Urology & Urogynecology of Arizona, can precisely target and monitor the freeze and thaw cycles to successfully ablate cancerous cells while preserving the nerve bundles responsible for erection, the urethra, bladder, and rectum. After the procedure, men may experience moderate pelvic pain, urinary urgency, observe blood during urination, or encounter a degree of scrotal swelling.
As cryotherapy is less invasive than a prostatectomy surgery, patients can expect a reduced period of recovery and a quicker return to everyday activities. Additionally, cryotherapy can be safely repeated and used in conjunction with other prostate cancer treatment options, such as surgery, hormone therapy, and external beam radiation. What’s more, cryoablation of the prostate offers men who do not qualify for radiation or prostatectomy surgery with a viable form of treatment. To learn more about this minimally invasive procedure, contact the urologic specialists of Academic Urology & Urogynecology of Arizona.