Question: What is cryosurgery?

Cryosurgery or cryoablation involves freezing targeted areas of the body in order to kill cancer cells.  This technology has been found to be very effective in treating localized prostate cancer as well as select kidney cancers.  It has been FDA approved to treat these cancers. 



Question: Why Dr. Hendricks?

Dr. Hendricks has more experience utilizing cryosurgery than any other urologist in the area.  He is a surgical proctor, traveling to other hospitals to train other urologists how to utilize this exciting new technology.  He also has regular training workshops in Napa, where other urologists go to watch him do cases and learn the techniques.

Cryosurgery can be done in a minimally invasive fashion with minimal, if any, pain after the procedure and quick recovery.  Dr. Hendricks has been performing prostatic cryoablation since 1994 and kidney cryoablation for four years and has had excellent outcomes.  He currently does more kidney cryoablation than any other urologist in California, including those in universities.

Prostate Cryoablation

Prostate cancer affects 1 out of 6 men in their lifetime.  There are many options to treat prostate cancer.  If the cancer is localized to the prostate, cryoablation of the prostate is an excellent treatment choice.  It can be used as a first-line treatment for localized prostate cancer or to treat recurrent localized prostate cancer after radiation treatment.

As primary treatment for prostate cancer, cryoablation has been found to be equally effective to other standard therapies for lower grade prostate cancers.  For high-grade cancers, cryotherapy is more efficacious than any form of radiation treatment.  In early studies, it appears to be equally effective to surgical removal of the prostate for high grade cancers as well.  Many urological surgeons feel that cryosurgery may be more effective than surgery for high-risk prostate cancers, but long term data is not available yet.

In either setting, cryoablation allows the patient to be treated in one visit and go home the same or the following day.  More information about this option is available here.  The site the link directs you to is slightly outdated and does not include information from the latest studies.

Dr. Hendricks had early experience using prostate cryoablation as salvage therapy for radiation failures as a urological resident at Columbia University with Dr. Aaron Katz in the mid to late 1990's. While in training he directly participated in dozens of the initial cases utilizing this technology.  Patients treated during that time are all part of Dr. Katz's recent publication on his ten year experience using prostate cryoablation as salvage therapy for radiation failures.

Once data began to emerge that cryoablation of the prostate is effective as a first-line treatment in prostate cancer, Dr. Hendricks trained in the use of the latest generation cryoablation equipment in 2003 and has since offered this treatment to patients that are appropriate candidates.

There is a link to more information about prostate cryoablation in a brochure here. Another brochure on what to expect during and after the procedure is located here.

Kidney cancer is diagnosed in about 30,000 people each year in the US, and 12,000 die each year of the disease.  Most kidney cancers are found incidentally on imaging studies done for other reasons.  The majority of these cancers are found early, meaning before the cancer has spread outside of the kidney. 

If kidney cancer is confined to the kidney, then cure is likely if it is treated.  In the past, the only available option for patients with localized kidney cancer has been open radical surgery to remove the kidney (radical nephrectomy).  It was later found that we could remove just that part of the kidney affected by the cancer (partial nephrectomy) with equivalent cure rates.  By the late 1990's, urologists began using laparoscopy, wherein small keyhole incisions are made through which instruments are passed which help remove the entire cancerous kidney.  This has resulted in remarkable improvements in how quickly patients have recovered after surgery without compromising their chance of being cured.

There is now an increasing amount of evidence that targeted cryoablation of select renal cancers is equally efficacious to standard therapies for this condition.  For tumors that are less than 5 cm in size, the success rate in multiple trials is 95 percent, with most of the failures being larger tumors.  The success rate for tumors 4 cm or less has been 100 percent in many centers, including those patients treated by Dr. Hendricks. 

Many academic centers concentrate on performing laparoscopic partial nephrectomies rather than doing cryoablation.  They have had great success with the procedure, but the risk of bleeding and the need to convert to a radical nephrectomy is higher than with renal cryoablation.  Many of the busiest urological laparoscopic surgeons agree that, although laparoscopic partial nephrectomy is a very new procedure and it works well, it will quickly become a thing of the past as renal cryoablation is working just as well with less risk.

This exciting new technology has allowed us to treat these small renal tumors with minimal morbidity using a laparoscopic approach.  This involves making 3 or 4 small keyhole incisions rather than one large, painful one.  This approach allows the patient to keep those portions of the kidney that are not affected by the tumor, rather than have the entire kidney removed.  The majority of patients go home the following day with minimal, if any, pain.

Dr. Hendricks has performed a number of these procedures and to date has not had a recurrence of any of the renal tumors treated.  He is currently doing more renal cryoablations than any other urologist in California .  He spends time teaching the technique to other practicing urologists throughout the West Coast.

Contact us at (707)224-7944 if you would like a consultation on these state-of-the-art, successful treament options in beautiful Napa!

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