Cryosurgery is the use of extreme cold in surgery to destroy abnormal or diseased tissue thus, it is the surgical application of cryoablation. Cryosurgery has been historically used to treat a number of diseases and disorders, especially a variety of benign and malignant skin conditions.
Cryosurgery offers advantages over other methods of cancer treatment. It is less invasive than surgery, involving only a small incision or insertion of the cryoprobe through the skin. Therefore, pain, bleeding and other complications of surgery are minimized. Cryosurgery is less expensive than other treatments and requires shorter recovery time and shorter hospital stay, or no hospital stay at all. Sometimes cryosurgery can be done using only local anesthesia.
Because physicians can focus cryosurgical treatment on a limited area, they can avoid the destruction of surrounding healthy tissue. The treatment can be safely repeated and may be used with standard treatments such as surgery, chemotherapy, hormone therapy, and radiation. Cryosurgery can provide an option for the treatment of cancers that are considered inoperable or that do not respond to standard treatments. In addition, it can be used for patients who are not good candidates for conventional surgery because of their age or other medical conditions.
Cryotherapy to a plantar wart using cotton bud application
Warts, moles, skin tags, solar keratoses, Morton’s neuromaand small skin cancers are candidates for cryosurgical treatment. Several internal disorders are also treated with cryosurgery, including liver cancer, prostate cancer, lung cancer, oral cancers, cervical disorders and, more commonly in the past, hemorrhoids. Soft tissue conditions such as plantar fasciitis (jogger’s heel) and fibroma (benign excrescence of connective tissue) can be treated with cryosurgery. Generally, all tumors that can be reached by the cryoprobes used during an operation are treatable. Although found to be effective, this method of treatment is only appropriate for use against localized disease, and solid tumors larger than 1 cm. Tiny, diffuse metastases that often coincide with cancers are usually not affected by cryotherapy.
Cryosurgery works by taking advantage of the destructive force of freezing temperatures on cells. When their temperature sinks beyond a certain level ice crystals begin forming inside the cells and, because of their lower density, eventually tear apart those cells. Further harm to malignant growth will result once the blood vessels supplying the affected tissue begin to freeze.