Cryosurgery is a method of superfreezing tissue in order to destroy it. The technique is used to treat tumors, control pain, and control bleeding.
The cold is introduced through a probe which has liquid nitrogen circulating through it. To destroy diseased tissue, the tissue is cooled to below -20 degrees Celsius. Other procedures that control pain or bleeding are cooled to a lesser degree to prevent tissue damage.
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Clements DS, Hurwitz D, Kaplan D. In: Rakel P, Bope ET, eds. Conn’s Current Therapy 2008. 60th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2008:chap 44.
Review Date: 8/8/2009
Reviewed By: Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Medical Director, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, University of Washington, School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.