Urologic Oncology Program: Prostate, Bladder, Kidney

Urologic Oncology Surgery Procedures

Surgery is a common treatment for early stage prostate cancer. In some cases, your doctor can use a method known as nerve-sparing surgery. This type of surgery may save the nerves that control erection. But if you have a large tumor or a tumor that is very close to the nerves, you may not be able to have this surgery.

Open Radical Prostatectomy

This surgical procedure to remove the prostate is performed under anesthesia using an incision that usually begins below the navel and extends to just above the pubic bone. Our physicians are experienced in performing nerve-sparing surgery to preserve the patient's erectile function.

Robot-Assisted Prostatectomy

The St. Joseph Hospital Prostate Cancer Program offers one of the most leading-edge surgical technologies available for removal of the prostate—the da Vinci Robotic Surgical System. This system gives the surgeon the instinctive control, fine tissue manipulation capability, full range of motion, and 3-D visualization characteristics of open surgery, while making it possible to work through small incisions and thus reducing pain, scarring and recovery time for patients. The excellent visualization of the internal anatomy may assist in sparing the erectile nerves, when possible. St. Joseph Hospital is one of the few hospitals in Orange County to offer this innovative technology.

Cryosurgery (or Cryotherapy)

This is a technique where special needles are inserted into the prostate under ultrasound guidance. This is similar to the insertion of needles into the prostate for Brachytherapy. These needles are then connected to a Cryotherapy generator, which uses argon gas to produce a precise freeze-zone in the prostate. The temperature is constantly monitored via thermocouples (temperature probes) to protect vital structures. In addition, a catheter with warm circulated fluid is placed in the urethra to protect it against damage from cold. Two freeze-thaw cycles are performed to thoroughly destroy the correct amount of the prostate gland including all cancerous cells. The ruptured cells are then sloughed or reabsorbed by the body and the treated area is eventually replaced by scar tissue. This procedure takes about 1 - 2 hours and hospitalization is usually overnight.

The following websites offer additional information on cryosurgery: