Cryoablation of the prostate may be used to treat localized prostate cancer or recurrences after previous radiation treatment. Cryoablation of the prostate may be done either through total freezing of the prostate or through focal or regional freezing to treat only the involved section of the prostate. In this manner the nerves for erection sitting on the uninvolved part of the prostate may remain intact to preserve erections.
The surgery is done by inserting 6-8 slender probes transperineally into the prostate under transrectal ultrasound control. Argon gas is circulated through the probes to freeze the prostate while helium is used to warm it. Two freeze thaw cycles are usually performed in the treatment process.
Several temperature sensors carefully monitor the process to determine that target freezing temperatures are reached while adjacent areas such as the sphincter and rectum are protected. A warming catheter protects the urethra from very cold temperatures.
This surgery is usually performed as an outpatient and commonly you will have a foley catheter draining your bladder for about a week. The cryoablation procedure can also be performed focally in that only the involved lobe of the prostate is treated and therefore minimizing the risk of impotence. This outpatient cryoablation procedure can also be repeated if the prostate cancer should recur.