Cryotherapy is the use of very low/ freezing temperatures for medical treatment. It is used by dermatologists to treat tissue damage or lesions.
Cryotherapy is used for:
Treating tissue damage and abnormal tissue growth
Treatment of skin lesions like moles and warts
Decreasing cellular metabolism and increasing cellular survival
Decreasing inflammation and pain
Constriction of blood vessels
Treating localized nerve irritation like in neuromas and nerve entrapments
Destroying cancer cells as in cervical cancer, prostate cancer, cancer of the kidney and lungs, etc
Whole body cryotherapy is used for treatment of multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis. Athletes may also use these treatments for relieving muscle pain and soreness.
Ultrasound or MRI may be used to guide cryoprobe.
Carbon dioxide at low temperature may be used for pain relief and muscle relaxation.
For external lesions/tumors, liquid nitrogen is applied using cotton swabs or spraying device and for internal tissue growths/tumors, liquid nitrogen is used with the help of a probe. Liquid nitrogen freezes the tissues at cellular level.
In whole body cryotherapy, patients are exposed to temperatures below -100 degree Celsius. Liquid nitrogen and refrigerate cold air is used.
A cryotherapy procedure may take a few minutes to a few hours, depending on the area being treated.
For skin lesions, a cryoprobe may be put through the skin. To reach to tumors inside the body, laparoscopic tube may be used to help to position the cryoprobe.
The procedure may be performed under local anesthesia for external lesions, whereas to reach cancer cells inside the body, general anesthesia may have to be given.
After cryotherapy, the frozen cells thaw. The internal tumor cells are naturally absorbed by the body and the external tumor cells form a scab. Patients recover in a few days. Recovery is not as time consuming as it is with other invasive surgical procedures.
Risk and Complication
Numbness and tingling sensation may be caused in treated areas.
Redness and irritation of the skin may also occur. There may be some pain and discomfort in the treated area.
Cryosurgery for prostate cancer can cause urine incontinence and impotence.
It is also called as cryoabalation/cryosurgery, etc.
Cryotherapy is relatively less expensive and can be used along with other treatment modalities like radiation therapy, chemotherapy and hormone therapy.
It can be used in patients who cannot be surgically treated due to age and other medical conditions.
Credihealth is a medical assistance company that gives guidance to a patient from the first consultation through the entire hospitalization process. A team of in-house Credihealth doctors helps the patient find the right doctor, book appointment, request cost estimate for procedures and manage admission & discharge processes.