Cryosurgery or cryotherapy is the use of extreme cold produced by liquid nitrogen (or argon gas) to destroy abnormal tissue. Cryosurgery is used to treat external tumors, such as those on the skin. For external tumors, liquid nitrogen is applied directly on cancer cells with a cotton swab or spraying device.

Cryosurgery is also used to treat tumors in the body (internal tumors and tumors in the bones). For internal tumors, liquid nitrogen gas and argon gas is circulated through a hollow instrument called cryoprobe, which is placed in contact with the tumor. The doctor uses ultrasound or MRI to guide the cryoprobe and monitor the freezing of cells, thus limiting damage to surrounding healthy tissue. (In ultrasound, sound waves bounce off organs and other tissues to create a picture called a sonogram.) A ball of ice crystals forms around the probe cell freezing nearby. Sometimes more than one probe is used to supply liquid nitrogen to various parts of the tumor. The probes can be placed in the tumor during surgery or through the skin (percutaneously). After cryosurgery, the melting of frozen tissue and is either naturally absorbed by the body (for internal tumors), or it dissolves and forms a crust (for external tumors).

What types of cancer can be treated with cryosurgery?

Cryosurgery is used to treat several types of cancers and some precancerous or noncancerous conditions. In addition to prostate and liver tumors, cryosurgery can be an effective treatment for the following:

-Retinoblastoma (a childhood cancer that affects the retina of the eye). Doctors have found that cryosurgery is more effective when the tumor is small and in some parts of the retina.

Skin cancers at early stage (both basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas). Precancerous skin growths known as actinic keratosis.

precancerous conditions of the cervix called cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (abnormal cell changes in the cervix that can develop into cancer of the cervix).

Cryosurgery is also used to treat certain types of low-grade tumors and non-cancerous tumor of the bone. It can reduce the risk of joint damage compared to surgery broader and help reduce the need for amputation. The treatment is also used to treat AIDS-related Kaposi's sarcoma when the skin lesions are small and localized.

Researchers examine cryosurgery in the treatment of several cancers, including breast, colon and kidney cancer. They are also exploring cryotherapy in combination with other therapies against cancer, such as hormone therapy, chemotherapy, radiotherapy or surgery.

In what situations can cryosurgery be used to treat prostate cancer? What are the side effects?

Cryosurgery can be used to treat men who have prostate cancer at an early stage is confined to the prostate. It is less well established than standard prostatectomy, and various types of radiation. The long-term results are not known. Because it is only effective in small areas, cryosurgery is used to treat prostate cancer that has spread outside the gland, or other body parts.

Some advantages of cryosurgery are that the procedure can be repeated and can be used to treat men who can not undergo surgery or radiotherapy because of their age or other medical problems.

Cryosurgery for prostate gland can cause side effects. These side effects may occur more often in men who had radiation to the prostate.

Cryosurgery-may hinder the flow or urinary incontinence cause (lack of control over urine flow), and often these side effects are temporary.
Many men experience impotence (loss of sexual function).
-In some cases, surgery has caused injury to the anus.

In what situations can cryosurgery be used to treat primary liver cancer or liver metastases (cancer that has spread to the liver from another part of the body)? What are the side effects?

Cryosurgery can be used to treat primary liver cancer that has not spread. It is used especially if surgery is not possible due to factors such as other medical conditions. The treatment can also be used for cancer that has spread to the liver from another site (such as the colon or rectum). In some cases, chemotherapy and / or radiotherapy may be given before or after cryosurgery. Cryosurgery in the liver can cause impairment of the biliary and / or major blood vessels, which can cause hemorrhage (bleeding) or infection.

Does cryosurgery have complications or side effects?

Cryosurgery has side effects, but they may be less severe than those associated with surgery or radiotherapy. The effects depend on the location of the tumor. Cryosurgery for cervical intraepithelial neoplasia has not been shown to affect the fertility of a woman, but it can cause cramping, pain or bleeding. When used to treat skin cancer (including Kaposi's sarcoma), cryosurgery can cause scarring and swelling if the nerves are damaged, loss of sensation may occur, and More rarely, it can cause loss of pigmentation and loss of hair in the treated area. When used to treat tumors of the bone, cryosurgery may lead to the destruction of the bone and nearby tissues, resulting in fractures, but these effects can not be seen for some time after initial treatment and can often be delayed with other treatments. In rare cases, cryosurgery may interact badly with certain types of chemotherapy. Although the side effects of surgery may be less severe than those associated with surgery or conventional radiotherapy, further studies are needed to determine the long-term effects.

What are the advantages of cryosurgery?

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.

What are the disadvantages of cryosurgery?

The major disadvantage of cryosurgery is the uncertainty surrounding its long-term effectiveness. While cryosurgery may be effective in treating tumors of the doctor can see using imaging tests (tests that produce pictures of areas inside the body), it can miss microscopic cancer spread. In addition, because the effectiveness of the technique is still being evaluated, the questions of insurance coverage may occur. (Reference: