Cryosurgery for Prostate Cancer

This process is used to kill prostate cancer cells by freezing them. Similar to the tiny radioactive seeds delivered through thin needles that we discussed previously, rather than seeds liquid nitrogen is passed through thin probes that are passed through needles that have been passed through the perineum directly into the prostate.

The liquid nitrogen will form a ball of ice from the cancer cells and as the frozen cells thaw out they break up. This procedure will take a couple of hours under anesthesia which can be either local or a spinal and a 1 or 2 day hospital stay.

There is a downside to this treatment. Even though a “warming catheter” is inserted into the penis to protect the urethra, the overlying nerve bundles usually freeze as well rendering the man impotent.