Cryosurgical Ablation for Prostate Cancer
Cryosurgical ablation, also called cryotherapy or cryosurgery, uses extreme cold temperatures to freeze and destroy cancerous tissues in the prostate and other organs.
Cryosurgery works by inserting very thin needles into the tumor and pumping pressurized argon gas into a chamber at the tip of the needle. This gas freezes and creates an ice ball that engulfs the cancerous cells. The cells are frozen and thawed twice to ensure cell death. The technique is minimally invasive and most patients go home the same day.
Cryosurgical ablation is an alternative to more traditional prostate cancer surgery or radiation, however the freezing of nerves and tissues often results in impotence, so patients who are already impotent make the best candidates. Some techniques are available that attempt to spare the nerves and reduce the chance of impotence. Some men will regain erectile function with time. Fewer than 1% of men experience incontinence as a result of cryotherapy.