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Cryosurgery

What is cryosurgery?

There was a time when crayo therapy was popular but is now is infrequently was because of availability of better options. This is a procedure which causes freezing of the hemorrhoidal tissue followed by sloughing, dieing and filthy of the hemorrhoids.

Cryosurgery is a procedure in which abnormal body tissues (sometimes referred to as lesions) are destroyed by exposure to extremely cold temperatures. A popular method twenty years ago, cryosurgery has fallen out of favor because of the pain and possible complication involved.

What are some common uses of the procedure?

Cryotherapy can be applied topically (on the skin surface), percutaneously, or surgically. Topical cryotherapy is used typically in the case of skin and eye lesions. When the lesion is situated below the skin surface, a needle-like therapy probe or applicator needs to be placed through the skin. Occasionally, a surgical incision is required.

Cryotherapy is used to treat:

  • skin tumors.
  • pre-cancerous skin moles.
  • nodules.
  • skin tags.
  • unsightly freckles.
  • retinoblastomas, a childhood cancer of the retina.
  • prostate, liver, and cervical cancers, especially if surgical resection is not possible.

Cryotherapy is also being used to treat tumors in other parts of the body, such as the kidneys, bones (including the spine), lungs, and breasts (including benign breast lumps called fibroadenomas). Although further research is needed to determine its long term effectiveness, cryotherapy has been shown to be effective in selected patients.

Benefits of cryosurgery

  • When an open surgical approach is taken, the recovery time following cryosurgery of kidney or liver tumors may be less than for open, surgical removal of the tumor.
  • For percutaneous cryotherapy, the patient may stay overnight or be released several hours after the procedure. Cryotherapy causes less pain during and after the procedure compared to heat-based treatments such as radiofrequency ablation. Overnight stays for pain control are usually not needed.
  • Percutaneous cryotherapy is less traumatic than open surgery since only a small incision is needed to pass the probe through the skin, which limits damage to healthy tissue. Consequently, percutaneous cryotherapy is less costly and results in fewer side effects than open surgery. A patient usually can resume activities of daily living 24 hours after the procedure, if not sooner. However, caution about heavy lifting may extend for several days after abdominal treatment.
  • For treatment of fibroadenomas, cryotherapy causes minimal scar tissue and no apparent calcifications.

Limitations of Cryotherapy?

Cryotherapy is an alternative cancer treatment when surgical removal of a tumor may be difficult or, for some patients, impossible. But its long-term effectiveness is still being examined. Currently, little published data deal with the long-term results of percutaneous cryotherapy but long-term follow-up for prostate cancer suggests cancer-control rates are similar to surgery or radiation therapy.

Cryotherapy is considered a localized therapy. It can only treat disease at a single site. It cannot treat cancer that has spread to other parts of the body. Because physicians treat the tumors they see on radiologic images, microscopic cancer may be missed.

Although its use in the bone, kidneys, liver and lung is promising, percutaneous cryotherapy has been considered investigational; however, promising results have emerged such that some insurance companies may pay for the procedure in select patients.

 
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