Cryo Prostate Cancer

Cryosurgery is generally a surgery involving the freezing of tissues in the body. In this form of surgery low temperatures are applied mostly with the intention of destroying diseased tissues, or in another application, to seal down detached retinas. Cryosurgery works by taking advantage of the destructive force of freezing temperatures on cells. At low temperatures, ice crystals form inside the cells, which can tear them apart. More damage occurs when blood vessels supplying the diseased tissues freeze.

For prostate cancer patients in treatment, cryosurgery is minimally invasive and certainly preferred to standard radical prostatectomy because of minimal pains, reduced scarring, and the fact that it is not too expensive, even though it does offer its own risks.

The early ’90s brought this new treatment for prostate cancer, which is now referred to as “cryotherapy” in some circles, with the goal of eradicating the cancerous tumors by freezing the gland. The surgeon applies anesthesia and then inserts special ultra-thin needles into the prostate through the perineum which produce very cold (extreme sub-zero) temperatures that freezes and destroys the entire organ along with the cancerous tissue within it. The needle insertion is guided by ultrasound, which also precisely controls the size and shape of the ice balls, and monitors the freezing

Cryotherapy helps prostate cancer patients to avoid major prostatectomy and the (undue) risks of active surveillance. It works almost perfectly to treat prostate cancer patients with intermediate and high risk of prostate cancer recurrence, and those who still exhibit signs of disease progression after previous radiation treatment.

The 10-year safety and durable efficacy of cryosurgery for treating prostate cancer is considered to be excellent; morbidity following the procedure is mild in comparison with other treatments; and the procedure is repeatable with similar results to be obtained. However sexual function impairment (or impotence) does occur up to ninety percent of the time, in spite of the fact that the urethra is protected by a catheter of warm liquid during the entire procedure.

Patients undergoing cryosurgery usually experience minor-to-moderate localized pain and redness, which can be alleviated by oral administration of an analgesic such as aspirin, ibuprofen or acetaminophen. Blisters that form from the procedure generally scab over and peel away within just a few days, and the operation takes less than two hours. And as for the side-effects, they usually go away within a few weeks, while most men recover their normal bowel and bladder function.

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