Cryosurgery may sound like a farfetched concept straight out of the future, but it is in fact a highly specialised method of surgery that is perfect for destroying diseased and abnormal body tissue.
As the name would suggest, cryosurgery (otherwise known as cryotherapy) uses extreme cold to kill these tissues through freezing.
Cryosurgery isn’t always the answer to problematic tissue management, however. Because freezing is involved, cryosurgery can be dangerous in some circumstances. Team Med address some of the procs and cons of cryosurgery in this blog – read on to learn more.
How does cryosurgery work?
Cryosurgery is so effective at destroying cells due to the potency of freezing. Freezing temperatures have the power to completely destroy cells by causing ice crystals to form inside the cells. Because the cells have a lower density than the ice crystals, they are eventually torn apart. This also affects the blood vessels supplying blood to these malignant growths – once these vessels are affected by freezing, they too will be destroyed.
Although liquid nitrogen is most commonly used in cryosurgery, it is also possible to use both argon and carbon dioxide. Temperatures required to destroy cells typically lie between -210 and -196 degrees Celsius.
What kinds of tissues is cryosurgery effective in managing?
Although it might seem suited to freeze external cells, cryosurgery is very well suited to both external and internal harmful cells. Externally, cryosurgery works well in managing warts, moles, skin tags, small skin cancers and similar small physical abnormalities.
Internal disorders ideal for cryosurgery management include many cancers, such as liver cancer, prostate cancer, lung cancer, oral cancers, and other internal issues such as cervical disorders and haemorrhoids. Despite being used to freeze cancer cells, cryotherapy is rarely the first method applied although it is often a primary treatment for early detections of prostate cancer.
How cryosurgery is performed
Despite still being labelled as “surgery,” external instances of cryosurgery are quite simple. Doctors will typically apply liquid nitrogen on the skin of a patient using a cotton swab or spray, with a numbing medicine used in some instances to prevent pain or discomfort.
As would be expected, internal cryosurgery is much more complicated. In internal cryosurgery, surgeons will use a flexible tube to navigate bodily openings to reach the target area. This procedure is typically guided by imaging equipment such as ultrasounds to ensure accuracy. Liquid nitrogen is then applied to the targeted cells, after which the cells freeze and die. There is no need to remove the cells afterwards, as the dead matter will be slowly absorbed by the body. For tumours, cryosurgery is only effective when managing those larger than one centimetre in diameter. The small metastases that often occur alongside cancers are usually not affected during cryotherapy.
Due to the non-invasive nature of external cryosurgery, most instances of these will result in the patient returning home on the same day. When home, the patient may be then required to care for the location in which the surgery was performed, mending to the place of incision or area that was frozen.
Internal cryosurgery may necessitate patients staying in hospital for a few days afterwards to give them time to properly heal.
Your doctor will typically give you advice and care instructions about your specific case, so there’s no need to worry about being over prepared. If the cryosurgery was not successful the first time round, you will be advised as such.
Cryosurgery products at Team Medical
Team Med stock a comprehensive range of cryotherapy equipment for use in clinical settings, including cryotherapy flasks, pens, and a variety of cryotherapy accessories at highly affordable prices. Whether you’re removing exterior cells such as warts and skin tags or needing to manage internal cancers, make sure to browse our range today
If you have any questions about our range, make sure to get in touch with our knowledgeable staff today.