A common treatment for men with early stage prostate cancer is Cryosurgery. Cryosurgery for prostate cancer is not recommended for men with oversized prostates; a board certified urologist will inform the patient on whether or not they may have an enlarged prostate gland. Cryosurgery is also known as cryotherapy.
Cryosurgery for prostate cancer usually sees the patient leave the hospital the same day as the procedure. Cryosurgery for prostate cancer consists of a doctor placing needles into the prostate using transrectal ultrasound for guidance. Anesthesia is required for cryotherapy and the doctor then uses cooled gases to destroy the prostate. To avoid damage to nearby tissues the doctor will watch the images from the ultrasound carefully.
If the freezing agents damage the bladder or intestines you may feel a burning sensation. An accompanying urge to empty your bladder or bowel could accompany the burning sensation. However, these sensations will abate and return to normal over time while the body heals. Compared to radical prostatectomy, cryosurgery for prostate cancer requires less blood loss, shorter recovery period, less pain after and a shorter time in the hospital.
Techniques using ultrasound guidance and precise temperature monitoring have only been around for a few years. Doctors do not know the long term side effects of Cryosurgery for prostate cancer compared to radiation treatments; which is why a doctor might seek other forms of treatment first. Men who undergo Cryosurgery for prostate cancer as the first form of treatment generally do not experience side effects as extreme as men who have prior treatments, such as radiation.
Erectile dysfunction is more common in men who have undergone radiation treatments first. In addition, men who have undergone radiation therapy first are more likely to experience urinary incontinence. In men who undergo Cryosurgery as a first treatment urinary incontinence is rare. In one percent of men after Cryosurgery for prostate cancer a fistula can develop between the rectum and bladder. This is a rare but serious problem, following up with a trained urologist is important to watch for serious side effects.