Cryosurgery for the Prostate

The medical community is abuzz with excitement at the new improved potential that they have in prostate cancer treatment by the current availability of cryosurgery option. Cryosurgery, cryoablation, cryotherapy; they are all chiefly the same thing and they all offer a promising remedy for the malignancy of the cells of the prostate gland in a manner that few other prostate cancer interventions are able to do.

Cryosurgery is a surgical process alright, but one that works on the premise of freezing the abnormal cells in the body to such extremely low temperatures that they die off as a result. It is a pretty simple procedure but one that takes the expertise of a seasoned surgeon. Small or narrow metallic rods are inserted through the perineum into the prostate gland guided by ultrasound so as to avoid damaging other organs or tissues in the process. The rods are then cooled using highly purified argon gas to temperatures as low as 186oC, forcing the cancerous cells to freeze and die off.

Unfortunately, other cells in the region are also that susceptible to the extreme cold and are often harmed in the process as well. To that end, effort is made to preserve them by introducing a catheter of warm fluid to the region, especially around the urethra. The urethra is the tube that carries urine from the bladder to the penis, and also semen from the prostate and the testicles. The catheter keeps the region worm enough to save the lives of other cell.

Prostate cancer cryosurgery or put differently ? cryosurgery of the prostate is exciting because it has been known to yield ten year biochemical disease free rates superior to all other prostate cancer treatments. This means that for as long as ten years after treatment for prostate cancer by cryosurgery, most of the patients are still living cancer free, which is a great thing, really. In addition to that, there are fewer incisions than a standard prostatectomy would have required, making it possible for the patient to heal faster, return home the very next day, and even be back at work in a matter of days.

Cryosurgery is not without its own drawbacks though; for one it causes incontinence in about 60% of patients, although the incontinence fades off after a while. This is still better than other prostate cancer treatments that offer loss of continence as a consequence of the treatment most of the time, anyway. A second pitfall of cryosurgery is that it still results in impotence in lots of cases.

Considering that other treatments for prostate cancer also yield similar results, this definitely is not something to be excited about. That has got to be the reason why there is still so much research going on with the technique ? perhaps to perfect it. However, there are institutions that already use cryosurgery to treat prostate cancer to a large degree.

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