Basis for the use of localized hypothermia during radical pelvic surgery

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Controlled tissue cooling, or hypothermia, has been used therapeutically for decades to mitigate the negative effects of traumatic, ischemic, and surgical insults. When applied systemically, moderate hypothermia can attenuate or prevent the extent of neurologic sequelae. Localized hypothermia, on the other hand, has the capacity to reduce tissue edema, suppress inflammation, and minimize the severity of peripheral nerve injury. Therapeutic hypothermia has been used in critical care, neurosurgery, ophthalmology, otolaryngology, cardiothoracic surgery and most recently in urology. Nerve injury during radical pelvic surgery can result in urinary incontinence or retention, impotence and bowel dysfunction. Localized hypothermia during radical prostatectomy has demonstrated improved recovery of urinary continence and erectile function, and similar benefits might be observed in other types of radical pelvic surgery.

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