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Cryosurgery or cryoablation involves freezing the prostate gland to destroy the cancer. Using an ultrasound image, small needles (cryoprobes) are placed into the prostate. Argon gas is circulated in these needles, causing an ice ball to form at each tip. The physician controls the growth of the ice balls as they merge to encompass the full gland while preserving a safe distance from other structures. The urethra is protected via a warming catheter.  After each freezing process (there are usually two), helium gas is circulated to allow the tissue to thaw; repeated freezing and thawing cycle kills the cancer cells. Cryotherapy is volume dependent with optimal gland volume below 50cc. A larger gland volume can be reduced approximately 40% with ADT. Cryotherapy is usually an outpatient procedure that can be performed 1-2 hours. The patient is discharged with a catheter in place for drainage, which is removed once prostate swelling has subsided.


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