Cryosurgery is the use of very cold temperatures to produce a controlled and predictable effect to the area to which the cold is applied. In our office, we use liquid nitrogen to reduce the temperature of the targeted area to minus 20 degrees Celsius. We often use a cryosurgical unit that has an assortment of varying sizes of applicator tips, configurations, and spray applicators.
When the cells of the target area are cooled to such significantly cold temperatures, the targeted tissue is destroyed. Ideally, the best results are when the area is cooled quickly and allowed to thaw slowly. Quite often, we will apply liquid nitrogen to the area twice, thus producing two freeze/thaw cycles. This results in much better overall results.
If the tissue we are freezing is in a location and size that is amenable, we will often use a pyrometer—a special type of thermometer—to insure that we attain the minus 20 degrees Celsius temperature.
Some indications for cryosurgery are:
- Oral tumors
- Skin conditions
- Rectal tumors and polyps
- Perianal fistulae
- Eye conditions—eyelid hairs, eyelid tumors, glaucoma