Cryoablation is emerging as an effective, minimally invasive treatment
for localized prostate cancer.
Cryoablation is revolutionizing
localized prostate cancer treatment by abolishing the "one
shot" treatment method of having only one chance at treating
the cancer. When used as a primary method of treatment, cryoablation
is repeatable if necessary, or it can be used as a secondary treatment
when radiation fails.
What Is SeedNet?
SeedNet is the new generation
in cryoablation for prostate cancer. Developed by Galil Medical,
ultra-thin needles, exclusive to the SeedNet system, produce iceballs
of extreme sub-zero temperatures that thoroughly destroy the prostate
including all cancerous tissue. Argon gas provides controllable
freezing capability and replaces the previously used liquid nitrogen
SeedNet combines the
good curative rates of cryoablation with an accurate and easily
performed technique that can be completed in under two hours.
How Does SeedNet
An insertion template
like that used in radioactive seed implantation (brachytherapy)
is used. Ultra-thin SeedNet needles are easily guided via ultrasound
imaging and inserted through the perineum into the prostate. Argon
gas circulating through these needles generates very low temperatures
causing the formation of ice. Multiple precision iceballs combine
to create a frozen region that conforms to the size and shape of
the prostate. The freezing process is lethal to all cells and thoroughly
ablates all prostatic tissue.
entire SeedNet procedure, including the freezing and thawing processes,
is carefully monitored in real-time with ultrasound imaging. A urethral
warmer is inserted in the penis to protect the urethra. The doctor
plans where to place the needles prior to the procedure so that
the entire prostate will be completely treated. However, at any
time during the procedure the doctor is able to change the placement
of the needles or add and remove needles making this an extremely
flexible and user-friendly system. Either spinal or general anesthesia
is used during the procedure, depending upon what the patient and
Similar to radical prostatectomy
and radiation therapy, SeedNet treats the entire prostate for cancer
and not only a specific area that may contain a tumor. In order
to insure the destruction of all cancer cells, the goal is to freeze
tissue beyond the membrane that encases the prostate. In doing so,
nerve bundles associated with erection may be affected, and as with
radical prostatectomy and radiation therapy, erectile dysfunction
is a potential complication.
Who Is a Candidate
Cryoablation is a successful
treatment option for the many prostate cancer patients who are seeking
minimally invasive treatment who prefer not to have radiation. The
procedure can be used for a wide range of disease stages from locally
confined prostate cancer (T1) to locally advanced disease, i.e.,
prostate cancer that has extended beyond the capsule (T3).
Cryoablation may offer
some advantage over radiation, in particular patients with high
Gleason scores. Generally men with smaller prostates are better
candidates for cryoablation. As in brachytherapy, those with larger
prostates can undergo hormonal therapy to decrease prostate size
prior to this therapy.
Benefits of Cryoablation
Utilizing the SeedNet System
- Viable and effective
less-invasive treatment option: many patients are unwilling or
unable to undergo surgery or radiation treatment.
- Minimally invasive:
uses ultra-thin 17 gauge needles no larger than biopsy needles.
- Out-patient or brief
overnight hospital stay, unlike surgery that requires several
- Quick recovery time:
mobility same day of the procedure and full return to normal routine
within a few days.
- Can be used as salvage
therapy in radiation failure.