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Cryosurgery For Prostate Cancer


  • Cryosurgery (kri-o-SER-jer-e), also called cryotherapy (kri-o-THER-ah-pe) or cryoablation, is surgery to treat prostate cancer (tumor) by freezing the prostate cancer cells. The prostate is a male sex gland that helps make semen. It wraps around the urethra and the neck of the bladder. The urethra is a tube that carries urine from the bladder to the end of the penis. With prostate cancer, tumor cells become cancerous and divide without control or order. These cancer cells often make too much tissue and affect other nearby structures in the prostate.
    Picture of male reproductive system
  • In cryosurgery, different types of cryoprobes (special probes or needles) may be inserted in the perineum. The perineum is the area between your penis and rectum (rear end). These probes are passed with cryogen (freezing liquid chemical) to damage and kill the cancer cells. Cryosurgery is done using ultrasound with a probe placed in the rectum as a guide. As cryogen fills the prostate, small ice balls are formed to freeze the cancer cells. Sometimes, hormone or radiation therapy may be used a few months before cryosurgery to shrink a large tumor. You and your caregiver will decide if cryosurgery for your prostate cancer is right for you. With cryosurgery, your prostate cancer may be treated and the symptoms it causes relieved.



  • Keep a current list of your medicines: Include the amounts, and when, how, and why you take them. Take the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency. Throw away old medicine lists. Use vitamins, herbs, or food supplements only as directed.
  • Take your medicine as directed: Call your primary healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not working as expected. Tell him about any medicine allergies, and if you want to quit taking or change your medicine.
  • Antibiotics: This medicine is given to fight or prevent an infection caused by bacteria. Always take your antibiotics exactly as ordered by your primary healthcare provider. Do not stop taking your medicine unless directed by your primary healthcare provider. Never save antibiotics or take leftover antibiotics that were given to you for another illness.
  • Pain medicine: You may need medicine to take away or decrease pain.
    • Learn how to take your medicine. Ask what medicine and how much you should take. Be sure you know how, when, and how often to take it.
    • Do not wait until the pain is severe before you take your medicine. Tell caregivers if your pain does not decrease.
    • Pain medicine can make you dizzy or sleepy. Prevent falls by calling someone when you get out of bed or if you need help.

Ask for information about where and when to go for follow-up visits:

For continuing care, treatments, or home services, ask for more information.

Ask your caregiver when you should return to have your wound checked, catheter taken out, or stitches removed. Ask your caregiver if you need to have radiation therapy and when you need to return for the treatment.


  • Exercises: Know how to do pelvic floor exercises. These exercises squeeze your pelvic floor muscles and help them become stronger. Ask your caregiver when to start doing these exercises.
  • Rest as often as you need to. Rest is important for your recovery. Do not return to your regular activities too quickly. Start slowly and do more as you feel stronger. Rest during the day. Plan for 6 to 8 hours of sleep each night. Contact your primary healthcare provider if you are not able to sleep.

Bladder care:

  • Catheter: You may need to learn how to insert a catheter by yourself if you need to replace your old catheter. A catheter is a soft rubber tube that you put into your urethra to drain your urine. Ask your caregiver for more information on self-catheterization and catheter care.
  • Voiding: Do not let your bladder become too full before emptying it. Set regular times each day to urinate. Urinate as soon as you feel the need. Try to urinate every three hours while awake and avoid drinking liquids before going to bed. At bedtime, urinate before lying down. This will keep you from having to get up to urinate after going to bed.

Eating well with cancer and cancer treatment:

Good nutrition can:

  • help you feel better during treatment and decrease treatment side effects
  • decrease your risk of infection
  • help you have more energy and feel stronger
  • help you maintain a healthy weight and heal faster
Eat a variety of healthy foods to get the protein, carbohydrates, and other nutrients that your body needs. You may need to change the foods you eat depending on your treatments and side effects. You also may need to eat more calories than usual. Work with a dietitian to plan the best meals and snacks for you. Ask if you should add vitamins to your diet.

Drinking liquids:

Drink extra liquids to avoid dehydration (loss of body fluid). You will also need to replace fluid if you are vomiting or have diarrhea from cancer treatments. Ask your caregiver which liquids to drink and how much you need each day.

Having sex:

You may have sex if you feel well. After having cryosurgery, you may have sexual problems such as trouble having an erection. These problems may not last long and most can be helped. Talk to your caregiver if you are worried or have concerns. He can help you find ways to handle these problems.

Wound care:

When you are allowed to bathe or shower, carefully wash the incisions with soap and water. Afterwards, put on clean, new bandages. Change your bandages any time they get wet or dirty. Ask your caregivers for more information about wound care.


  • You are so sad you feel you cannot cope with your illness.
  • You cannot make it to your next visit with your caregiver.
  • You have a fever.
  • You have blood in your urine or have trouble urinating.
  • You have chills, a cough, or feel weak and achy.
  • You have dizziness, nausea (upset stomach), or vomiting (throwing up).
  • You have chest pain or trouble breathing that is getting worse over time.
  • You have questions or concerns about your surgery, condition, or care.


  • 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 pain that does not decrease or go away after taking your medicine.
  • You have redness, pain, blood, or drainage where the catheter enters the penis.
  • Your symptoms are getting worse or coming back.
  • Your urine becomes very cloudy and foul (bad) smelling.
  • You suddenly feel lightheaded and have trouble breathing.
  • You have new and sudden chest pain. You may have more pain when you take deep breaths or cough. You may cough up blood.
  • Your arm or leg feels warm, tender, and painful. It may look swollen and red.

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.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

Learn more about Cryosurgery For Prostate Cancer (Aftercare Instructions)

Micromedex® Care Notes