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Cryotherapy uses imaging guidance,

a needle-like applicator called a
cryoprobe, and liquid nitrogen or
argon gas to create intense cold to
freeze and destroy diseased tissue,
including cancer cells. It can be used
to treat various skin conditions, as
well as tumors within the liver,
kidneys, bones, lungs and sinuses.
Your doctor will give you instructions on how to prepare, including any changes in
your schedule for taking medications. Talk to your doctor if there is a possibility that
you are pregnant, and tell them about any recent illnesses, medical conditions,
allergies, and medications you are taking, including herbal supplements and aspirin.
You may be advised to stop taking aspirin, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
(NSAIDs), or anticoagulants for several days before the procedure. Ask your doctor
if you will have to spend the night in the hospital. Leave the jewelry at home and
wear loose and comfortable clothes. You may be asked to put on a gown during the
exam. Make plans for someone to take you back to your home.

What are some common uses of this procedure?

Cryotherapy can be applied topically (on the surface of the skin), percutaneously or
surgically. Topical cryotherapy is usually used in cases of skin and eye injuries.
When the lesion is below the surface of the skin, a therapy probe or needle-like
applicator needs to be placed through the skin. In some cases a surgical incision is
Cryotherapy is used to treat:
• skin tumors.

• Precancerous moles on the skin.

• nodules

• cutaneous papillomas.

• unattractive freckles.

• Retinoblastomas, a childhood cancer of the retina.

• cancers of the prostate, liver and cervix, especially if surgical resection is not

Cryotherapy is also being used to treat tumors in other parts of the body, such as
the kidneys, bones (including the spine), lungs, and sinuses (including benign breast
lumps called fibroadenomas). While additional research is needed to determine its
long-term effect, cryotherapy has been shown to be effective in selected patients.
How is the procedure carried out?
Image-guided percutaneous procedures, such as cryotherapy, are mostly performed
by an interventional radiologist specially trained in an interventional radiology room
or sometimes in the operating room.

This procedure is often done in outpatients. However, some patients may need
hospitalization after the procedure. Please consult your doctor about whether you
will be admitted or not.

It will be located on an examination table.

If topical cryotherapy is done, the doctor applies liquid nitrogen to the area with a
cotton swab or spray.

For well-deep tumors within the body that can be reached through the skin, the
doctor performs a percutaneous procedure and inserts thin applicators, the size of a
needle, or cryoprobes.

During the procedure, it could be connected to monitors that control the heartbeat,
blood pressure and pulse.

A nurse or technologist places an intravenous (IV) line in a vein in the hand or arm
to administer the sedative medication intravenously. Moderate sedation could be
used. Alternatively, you may be given general anesthesia.

The area where the applicators should be inserted or the cryoprobe is shaved,
sterilized and covered with a sterile lid.

A small incision is made in the skin on the site.

With the use of imaging guidance, the doctor inserts one or more applicators or
cryoprobes through the skin to the site of diseased tissue. With the applicators or the
cryoprobe (s) in place, liquid nitrogen or argon gas is delivered. In addition to the
cryoprobe (s), nothing else is introduced into the body. An "ice ball" is created by a
rapid decrease in the temperature of the tip of the probe. This causes the water in
the area around the tip of the probe to freeze. Images are used to guide applicator
placement and monitor the freezing process. The "ice ball" can be visualized by
ultrasound, CT or MRI.

Some tumors require multiple applicators for complete freezing. For example, to treat
prostate cancer, six to eight applicators are inserted through the perineum (the tissue
between the rectum and the scrotum and the penis) with ultrasound guidance.

At the end of the procedure, the applicator (s) is removed and pressure is applied to
stop any bleeding. The opening in the skin is covered with a bandage. Usually,
sutures are not needed.
The intravenous line may be removed.
The entire procedure is usually completed within one to three hours