The prostate gland is found only in males. It sits below the bladder and wraps around the urethra, the tube that carries urine out of the body. The prostate helps make semen.
Cryotherapy involves freezing the cancer cells and cutting off their blood supply. Tiny needles are placed right into the tumor. Argon gases are passed through the needles and exchanged with helium gases. This causes a freezing and warming cycle. The frozen, dead tissue then thaws and is naturally absorbed by the body.
Cryotherapy can be used to treat a variety of problems. When used to treat prostate cancer, a warming catheter is put into the urethra to keep it from freezing. The needles are guided into the prostate tumors using ultrasound imagery to guide them.
Cryotherapy may be a good treatment option for prostate cancer treatment in the following situations:
Some experts believe cryotherapy can be helpful when the prostate cancer cells aren’t as sensitive to radiation.
Cryotherapy may not be recommended for men who have a very large prostate gland.
Cryotherapy is less invasive than standard procedure. It involves needles that are put in through the skin under the scrotum, called the perineum. There is less blood loss, a shorter hospital stay, faster recovery, and less pain. It can be repeated, if needed.
There may be other reasons for your healthcare provider to recommend cryotherapy.
As with any procedure, complications can occur. The risk of permanent erectile dysfunction (ED) is very high with cryotherapy. This makes it a better choice for men who aren’t as concerned about ED after treatment. Some other possible complications may include:
There may be other risks depending on your condition. Be sure to discuss any concerns with your healthcare provider before the procedure.
Here are some things you can expect before cryotherapy for prostate cancer:
Based on your condition, your healthcare provider may request other specific preparation.
Cryotherapy may require a one-day stay in the hospital. It may also be done as an outpatient procedure. Procedures may vary depending on your condition and your healthcare provider’s practices.
Generally, cryotherapy follows this process:
After the procedure, you may be taken to a recovery room before being taken to a hospital room. You will be connected to monitors that will display your heart rate, blood pressure, breathing rate, and your oxygen level.
Once you are stable and awake, you will be taken to your hospital room. You may also start to drink liquids.
You may get pain medicine as needed, either by a nurse, or by giving it yourself through a device connected to your IV line.
You can gradually return to solid foods as you are able to handle them.
You may start to take antibiotics after the procedure is done and continue them for a few days after it. This is to help prevent infection.
Your recovery will continue to progress. You will probably have some bruising and swelling in the area where the probes were inserted. You will be encouraged to get out of bed and walk the same day. You may be able to go home the same or the next day.
You may notice some blood in your urine for a day or two after the procedure. Swelling in the penis or scrotum is common. You may also have pain in your belly (abdomen) and burning sensations which may make you feel the urge to go to the bathroom more often.
The catheter will stay in for 1 to 3 weeks to help urine drain while your prostate gland heals. You will be given instructions on how to care for the catheter at home.
Arrangements will be made for a follow-up visit with your healthcare provider.
Your healthcare provider may give you other instructions after the procedure, depending on your situation.
Once you are home, it will be important to keep the surgical area clean and dry. Your healthcare provider will give you specific bathing instructions.
The needle insertion sites may be tender or sore for several days after cryotherapy. Take a pain reliever for soreness as recommended by your healthcare provider.
You shouldn’t drive until your healthcare provider tells you to. Other activity restrictions may also apply.
Be sure to keep any follow-up appointments so your healthcare provider can make sure you're recovering well. The catheter will be taken out at one of these follow-up appointments.
Call your healthcare provider if you have any of the following:
Before you agree to the test or the procedure make sure you know: