Cryosurgery, also known as cryoablation or cryotherapy, is a minimally invasive procedure that kills prostate cancer by freezing the cancerous cells.
With cryosurgery, the physician inserts 6-8 slender probes into the prostate gland. Contained within each probe is argon gas cold enough to freeze the entire prostate. A warming catheter protects the urethra from the very cold temperatures.
Recent advances have made cryosurgery extremely safe and highly effective. Ultrasound images allow your doctor to guide the probes to the best possible positions for killing the cancer. Temperature sensors carefully monitor the process and precisely determine when target temperatures have been reached.
The benefits of the procedure include a choice of general or local anesthesia, a fast recovery and lower risk of potential side effects, such as incontinence. In fact, incontinence affects just five percent of cryosurgery patients -- far less than with other procedures. On the other hand, this procedure carries a high risk of impotence.