What you can expect

During cryotherapy for prostate cancer

Cryotherapy for prostate cancer is done in the hospital. You may be given a general anesthetic, or your doctor may numb only the surgical area with a local or regional anesthetic.

Once the anesthetic takes effect, your doctor:

  • Places an ultrasound probe in your rectum.
  • Places a catheter inside the tube (urethra) that transports urine from your bladder out of your penis. The catheter is filled with a warming solution to keep the urethra from freezing during the procedure.
  • Inserts several thin metal probes or needles through the area between the scrotum and the anus (perineum) into the prostate.
  • Watches the images generated by the ultrasound probe to ensure correct placement of the needles.
  • Releases argon gas to circulate through the probes or needles, cooling them and freezing nearby prostate tissue.
  • Monitors and controls the temperature of the needles and the amount of freezing within the prostate gland.
  • May place a catheter into your bladder through your lower abdomen to assist in draining urine after cryotherapy.

After cryotherapy for prostate cancer

You'll likely be able to go home the day of your procedure, or you may spend the night in the hospital. The catheter may need to remain in place for about two weeks to allow for healing. You might also be given an antibiotic to prevent infection.

Cryotherapy for prostate cancer usually results in very little blood loss. You may experience:

  • Soreness and bruising for several days where the rods were inserted
  • Blood in your urine for several days
  • Problems emptying your bladder and bowels, which usually resolve over time

Sexual dysfunction, including impotence, is common after cryotherapy for prostate cancer.

April 26, 2016
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