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After Cryosurgery for Prostate Cancer

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Oct 31, 2022.


After cryosurgery,

the catheter placed during surgery to drain urine will stay in place for up to 3 weeks after surgery. You may instead have to replace the catheter each time you need to urinate. You should expect to have some swelling and bruising and to feel sore where the probes went into your body. This is normal and should not last long. You may have trouble urinating or see blood in your urine for several days. You may have trouble having a bowel movement because of swelling that happens after the surgery. These are normal and should go away on their own.

Call your local emergency number (911 in the US) if:

  • You suddenly feel lightheaded and short of breath.
  • You have chest pain when you take a deep breath or cough.
  • You cough up blood.

Seek care immediately if:

  • Your arm or leg feels warm, tender, and painful. It may look swollen and red.
  • You cannot urinate, or if you have a catheter, no urine is filling the bag.
  • You have a blocked catheter or a problem with your catheter.
  • You have redness, pain, blood, or drainage where the catheter enters your penis.
  • Your urine smells bad or becomes red and cloudy.

Call your doctor or surgeon if:

  • You have a fever.
  • You have pain that does not get better after you take your medicine.
  • Your urine looks pink for longer than a few days, or you have trouble urinating.
  • You have chills, a cough, or feel weak and achy.
  • You are dizzy, nauseated, or vomiting.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.


  • Prescription pain medicine may be given. Ask your healthcare provider how to take this medicine safely. Some prescription pain medicines contain acetaminophen. Do not take other medicines that contain acetaminophen without talking to your healthcare provider. Too much acetaminophen may cause liver damage. Prescription pain medicine may cause constipation. Ask your healthcare provider how to prevent or treat constipation.
  • Medicine may be given to help you have a bowel movement more easily.
  • Take your medicine as directed. Contact your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell your provider if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.

Care for the surgery area:

When you are allowed to bathe or shower, carefully wash around the area with soap and water. Do not scrub the area. Let the soap and water run over the area. Dry the area and put on new, clean bandages as directed. Change your bandages when they get wet or dirty. You may also have swelling and bruising in your perineum, scrotum, or penis. Your perineum is the area between the anus and penis. Apply ice packs or crushed ice in a plastic bag to reduce the swelling. Wrap the bag in a towel before you apply it to the area.

Bladder care:

  • Drink liquids as directed. Ask how much liquid to drink each day and which liquids are best for you. Liquids will help flush your bladder and prevent infection.
  • You may need to learn how to drain your bladder with a catheter. If you do not have a urinary catheter, you may have to replace the catheter each time you feel like you need to urinate. Ask your healthcare provider for more information on self-catheterization and catheter care.
  • Do not let your bladder become too full before you empty it. Set regular times each day to urinate. Urinate as soon as you feel the need. Try to urinate every 3 hours while you are awake. Do not drink liquids right before you go to bed. At bedtime, urinate before you lie down. This will keep you from having to get up to urinate after you go to bed. Empty your bladder every 3 hours to prevent urine from staying in your bladder too long. Urine left in your bladder too long may cause an infection. You may also have trouble urinating when your bladder is very full.


You will not be able to lift anything heavy for 72 hours after your surgery. You may be able to return to work and exercise in 3 to 10 days. This will depend on the number and size of the incisions that are made by your healthcare provider during surgery. Your activity may also be limited if you go home with a urinary catheter. Do not drive for at least 24 hours after surgery.

Do pelvic floor exercises as directed:

The exercises squeeze your pelvic floor muscles and help them become stronger. To do pelvic floor exercises, squeeze your muscles like you want to stop urinating. Hold for 3 seconds and then relax. Ask your healthcare provider when to start doing these exercises, and how often to do them.

Sexual activity:

Ask when you can start to have sex again. After cryosurgery, you may have problems such as trouble having an erection. These problems may not last long and most can be helped. Talk to your healthcare provider if you have concerns.

Do not smoke:

Nicotine and other chemicals in cigarettes and cigars can cause lung damage and increase your risk for new or returning cancer. Ask your healthcare provider for information if you currently smoke and need help to quit. E-cigarettes or smokeless tobacco still contain nicotine. Talk to your healthcare provider before you use these products.

Follow up with your doctor or surgeon as directed:

Ask when to return to have your wound checked, catheter taken out, or stitches removed. Ask if you need to have radiation therapy and when you need to return for the treatment. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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