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Cryosurgery – The Cold War against Tumors & Neuromas

Cryosurgery in India

Cryosurgery is also known by the names cryoabalation, cryosurgical abalation and cryotherepy. In the past years cryosurgery was only used in treatment of external tumors but with the progress in science, it is now used in treating internal tumors too. This surgery uses the extreme cold properties of liquid nitrogen, carbon dioxide or compressed argon gas to destroy the abnormal or malignant tissues or cells. The most commonest substance used for this procedure is liquid nitrogen with the temperature of −196 °C (−321 °F) . Cryosurgery is also used as pain management treatment.

Overview of Cryosurgery:

  • Cryosurgery mainly includes a needle like applicator known as cryoprobe and cooling substance like liquid nitrogen, carbon dioxide or compressed argon gas
  • The cryoprobe is cooled using one of the above gases and is placed in contact with the abnormal tissue or cell
  • Cryosurgery can be performed as an outpatient procedure or as an inpatient procedure depending upon the health of the patient and also the site where it has to be performed
  • While treating external tumors, the surgery can be performed as outpatient one where the patient does not need to get hospitalized
  • During treating the internal tumors with cryosurgery, the patient may need to get themselves hospitalized and prepare themselves like for the routine general surgeries
  • Cryosurgery  when used as a pain management procedure, deadens the irritated nerve 
  • Cryosurgery can also be used along with other cancer treatments like surgeries, chemotherapy, radiotherapy, hormonal therepies etc.

Conditions Where Cryosurgery Is Performed:

  • For external tumors both malignant or benign like skin tags, warts, moles, solar keratosis, genital warts, haemorroids.
  • In treatment of internal tumors both malignant or benign and in some precancerous or noncancerous conditions
  • In treatment of early stage prostate cancer, liver tumor where there is no metastatis, lung cancer, oral cancer, Retinoblastoma, early stage skin cancers – both basal cell and squamous cell carcinoma
  • For  precancerous skin conditions like Actinic Keratosis.
  • In treatment of cervical cancer without metastatis and its precancerous condition like Cervical Intraepithelial Neoplasia 
  • It can also be used in treating some low grade benign or malignant tumors of bone
  • It is also used to treat Kaposis Sarcoma ( AIDS related condition) when the skin lesions are small and localized
  • In treatment of soft tissue conditions like Planter Fascitis
  • In treatment of neuromas (benign nerve growths), nerve entrapments (pinched nerves) like Intercostals Neuralgia (nerve irritation between ribs) , Cluneal Nerve Entrapment, Ilioinguinal Neroma, Hypogastric Neuromas, Interdigital Neromas and Lateral Femoral Cutaneous Nerve Entrapment.

Procedure of Cryosurgery:

For Internal Tumors:

  • An incision or cut is taken on the skin near the tumor site to reach the tumor
  • Ultrasound is used to find the tumor and to monitor the freezing procedure
  • Cryoprobe is passed through the incision to the tumor 
  • Liquid nitrogen, carbon dioxide or compressed argon gas is passed through the cryoprobe to the tumor
  • This freezes the tissue and there forms an ice ball
  • As the freezing completes, the cryoprobe is warmed and detached from the tumor
  • The freezed tissue ball thaws and forms a scar tissue
  • The procedure may need to be reapeated as per the nature and size of tumor
  • More than one cryoprobe can be used as per the size of tumor

For External Tumors:

  • While treating external conditions, either a cryoprobe is used or cold gas is directly sprayed on the abnormal tissue mass
  • While using the probe; the cryoprobe freezed with the liquid nitrogen, carbon dioxide or compressed argon gas is placed on the tumor
  • The cryoprobe freezes the area
  • The frozen area is then allowed to thaw
  • This freezing thawing procedure is repeated as per requirement
  • When the gas is directly sprayed on the abnormal tissue; it freezes the tissue mass
  • Likewise in probe method; this too is then allowed to thaw
  • The freezing – thawing procedure is repeated as per requirement
  • The area sprayed with cold gas will swell up, turn red and form a blister
  • This will heal up in the time span of around 7 to 14 days

For Pain Management:

  • For pain management; the cryoprobe is inserted in tissue near the irritated nerve ending
  • The temperature of the probe is dropped to the extent that it will freeze the nerve ending
  • This freezing deactivates the nerve and deadens it thus relieving the irritation of nerve and pain associated with it

Risk Factors Associated With Cryosurgery:

  • Completely frozen nerves  can cause numbness and altered movement in the course of the nerve
  • Special considerations are to be taken while performing cryosurgery on children

Side Effects Associated With Cryosurgery:

  • Pain in adjoining area due to damage to the tissues
  • Bleeding at the site of incision and insertion
  • The body temperature may lower down in some cases where internal tumors are treated
  • Scarring or swelling may occur while treating external tumors or conditions like Kaposis Sarcoma
  • Temporary loss of sensation may occur while treating irritated nerve endings

The side effects associated with cryosurgery are far more less than those associate with the traditional / conventional surgeries, chemotherepies, radiations etc

Benefits of Cryosurgery:

  • Cryosurgery is less invasive than the conventional surgeries as only a small incision is taken to insert the cryoprobe while treating internal tumors or while treating the irritated nerve endings
  • This in result lessens the post surgical complications like bleeding or oozing from the wound site, pain, restricted movements etc
  • The recovery time required after cryosurgery is very less compared to the time required after conventional surgeries
  • Cryosurgery can be performed in lesser time than the routine conventional surgeries
  • Cryosurgery requires shorter hospital stay or sometimes no stay at all
  • It is less expensive than the conventional surgeries
  • Since Cryosurgery is limited to the abnormal tissue, the destruction of adjoining healthy and normal cells can be avoided
  • This procedure can be used along with the other treatment options like conventional surgeries, hormonal therapy, chemotherapy, radiations etc
  • Cryosurgery can be safely repeated till the desired result is acquired
  • This can be considered as a option in the cancer cases which are inoperable or which sometimes fail to respond to the conventional methods
  • Patients who cannot undergo surgeries or other treatment options due to medical, age related or financial reasons can easily and safely opt for cryosurgery.

Limitations of Cryosurgery:

This method of treatment can be used only against localized diseases and solid tumors which are larger than 1 cm in dimension. Diffused metastatic conditions which are common in cancer remain unaffected from this method. Also there is uncertainty of its long term effectiveness.

Am I A Good Candidate For Cryosurgery?

Since cryosurgery is relatively safe than the conventional treatment methods, any person who is suffering from internal / external tumors (malignant or benign) or suffering from irritated nerve endings can opt for this procedure.

Still, prior consultation of the physician is required if the patient opting for cryotherepy is –

  • Pregnant female
  • A child
  • Person suffering from high blood pressure
  • Person suffering from cardiovascular diseases
  • The one having bleeding disorders or severe anemia
  • Person having pacemaker implanted
  • Patient having cold intolerance or cold urticaria
  • Patient having lesion overlying nerves
  • Patient having lesion located in a body area with compromised circulation

Recovery Time after Cryosurgery:

The recovery time after cryosurgery is relatively very less than the time required to heal after conventional surgeries as this process is less invasive. Only a small incision is taken to insert the probe to reach the tumor tissue or irritated nerve ending for treating it. Since the wound is very small; the post procedure complications like bleeding or oozing from wound site is negligible thereby reducing the recovery time drastically. Also since it many a times performed as outpatient procedure involving no hospital stay; reduces the recovery time even more. Wounds of cryosurgery heal quickly within the time span of 7 to 14 days with very little or literally no scarring at all.

After Care for Cryosurgery:

  • While treating external tumors or skin conditions, the area which is sprayed or freezed with the gas or cryoprobe respectively will become red, swell up a bit and will develop a blister
  • Do not try to remove this blister as it may give a passage to the microbes causing infection
  • During treating internal tumors or irritated nerve endings, incision is made on skin
  • Treat this wound like any other normal wound
  • Clean the wound with medicated cleaner or soap as we normally do
  • Try to keep the wound as dry as possible
  • Every time the wound gets wet while performing routine chores; make sure to dab it with clean cotton cloth or blotting paper
  • Apply a thin layer of any antibiotic cream to the wound twice a day till it develops a scab
  • If the wound site starts itching, cover it with a bandage

Success Rate for Cryosurgery:

The success rate for cryosurgery is on an average 93% of all treated lesions with only one treatment.

Cost Comparison of Cryosurgery in India Vs Other Countries:

Cryosurgery in India costs approximately ranges from INR 46150 to INR 71000; whereas in UK the consultation itself starts from USD 10,000.

Why Choose MedcureIndia?

MedcureIndia is an Indian medical tourism Company which aims at providing best medical treatment to the patients’ worldwide with most accurate diagnosis and most affordable cost regarding the treatment of the same. We have highly skilled and result oriented team of doctors practicing at reputed organizations / hospitals treating various ailments of patients coming from all parts of the world.  We ensure the most appropriate treatment at affordable prices as per the requirements of our clients.

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