Cryotherapy is a procedure which uses extreme low temperatures to freeze and kill cancer cells, surrounding them with ice crystals. For Cryotherapy for Prostate Conditions, the medic will introduce tiny needles in the tumor using transrectal ultrasound (TRUS) guided technology. The urethra will be kept warm using a warming catheter, to prevent it from freezing.
The prostate gland has a key role in male reproduction as it secrets seminal fluid, which combined with sperm makes the semen. The prostate is located at the bottom of the bladder and around the first inch of the urinary tube. With age, the prostate is affected by many common problems, such as Benign Prostatic Hyperplastia (BHP), which is the enlargement of the prostate occurring most often at men around their 60s, Prostatism, which is the decreased urinary force caused by the obstruction of flow due to enlarged prostate, Prostatitis, which is the infection or inflammation of the prostate, and Prostatalgia, which is a symptom of Prostatitis and is characterized by pain in the prostate gland.
According to an American Cancer Society study prostate cancer is the most common type of cancer for men between 50 and 60 years old and more than 200,000 men are diagnosed with this type of cancer annually. Even if the cancer is diagnosed in its early stages and treated, 30% to 40% of men deal with a recurrence of prostate cancer.
Cryotherapy is usually used after the radiotheraphy or brachytherapy paid no results and the cancer returned. Rarely medics choose Cryotherapy as a first option to treat prostate cancer, for the patients who may not have surgery or radiotherapy due to heart problems for example. The procedure has a high risk in temporary or permanent impotence.
Benefits of Cryotherapy for Prostate Conditions
Cryotherapy is effective in patients who have low-risk tumor factors, a prostate specific antigen level lower than 10 ng/mL, a less advanced clinical stage and Gleason score less than 6, which means the cancer does not have an increased change to spread beyond the prostate. The procedure is useful to kill cancer cells which are not sensitive to radiation.
Cryotherapy is a less invasive procedure compared with the radical prostatectomy, which means less blood is lost, the hospital stay is shorter or even none, less pain and a shorter recovery period. As the procedure can be done with a local anesthesia, instead of a general one, this might benefit older men or men with various conditions such as heart disease, lung disease or diabetes.
The patient will have to fast for 8 hours before the procedure, sign a consent form for the procedure and stop smoking as soon as possible before the procedure.
During the procedure a catheter is placed into the bladder, through the urethra, to drain urine and fill it with a saline solution, to help the urine drain after the prostate swells after the treatment. The same catheter will be used to circulate a warm liquid through the urethra to prevent it from freezing due to the cold temperatures used during the procedure.
Sometimes the surgeon will choose regional anesthesia, if general anesthesia is not necessary. The cryoprobes or needles will be inserted in the areas between the scrotum and the anus, to place a liquid cooling agent, usually argon. The area will be frozen for only several minutes, then it will be thawed by inserting helium.
The surgeon will then extract the needles, leave the catheter in the bladder, apply a sterile bandage and the patient will be moved to the recovery room. The patient may be allowed to go home the same day or the following one. After the procedure the patient might have swelling and bruising in the perineum area, notice some blood in the urine for a day or two, swelling in the scrotum and penis, pain in the abdomen, burning sensations and impotence due to nerve damage.
Cost of Cryotherapy for Prostate Conditions
The price for prostate cancer cryosurgery, including physician, facility and anesthesia services, is somewhere around $13,500, compared with at least $10,600 for radical prostatectomy, $15,000 for external beam radiation and $14,500 for brachytheraphy.
Who performs Cryotherapy for Prostate Conditions
Cryotherapy for Prostate Cancer is performed by urologists, but also by surgeons who are cryotherapy specialists. The procedure is performed in a limited number of hospital and cancer centers, which have the necessary equipment and technology such as advanced gas expansion method, ultrasound equipment, MRI or CT imaging and small diameter needles.
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