Prostate Cancer Cryosurgery Treatment

Cryosurgery is a technique that uses super low temperatures to kill prostate cancer cells. It is one of several minimally invasive approaches to prostate cancer offered at Columbia Urology/NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital.

During cryosurgery, surgeons insert needles into the prostate to freeze and destroy the prostate cancer cells. Argon and helium gas circulate through the needles, lowering the temperature to -40°C for several minutes. Surgeons can control the extent of freezing and evaluate the prostate and needle placement with real-time ultrasound imaging during the procedure.

Compared with open surgical procedures such as radical prostatectomy, cryosurgery is less invasive and causes fewer side effects. Also, cryosurgery is a recognized option for patients who fail after primary radio- or cryotherapy and have localized recurrence, and has been shown to provide very good cancer control and functional outcomes.

Cryosurgery is usually an outpatient procedure, so patients go home the day of treatment. Recovery following cryosurgery treatment is rapid. Cryosurgery entails a lower risk of side effects such as incontinence. And for some men cryosurgery results in minimal damage to the nerves involved in sexual function.

Eligibility for Cryosurgery Treatment for Prostate Cancer

Columbia Urology offers this form of minimally invasive treatment to men with localized, aggressive, or radiation recurrent prostate cancer, and as a focal cancer treatment (a treatment that targets just the tumor and margin of normal tissue) to patients with low-risk prostate cancer. Doctors at Columbia Urology use cryosurgery to treat aggressive prostate cancers (PSA above 10 and a Gleason's score of 7 and above) that have recurred locally following radiation or that are not curable by radical surgery or radiation.

We also offer cryosurgery treatment as a focal therapy for patients with low-risk prostate cancer. Focal cryosurgery appears to be well suited for patients with early-stage prostate cancer who have a minimal amount of prostate cancer in one area of the gland. Columbia Urology doctors are investigating the effectiveness of a combination of hormonal therapy and cryosurgery treatment to improve the results of cryosurgery for prostate cancer.