Cryosurgery is a type of surgery that involves the use of extreme cold to destroy abnormal tissues, such as tumors.
The surgery most often involves the use of liquid nitrogen, although carbon dioxide and argon may also be used. When liquid nitrogen has a temperature between -346 and -320°F, it instantly freezes nearly anything that’s in contact with it. In the case of human tissue, it can kill and destroy cells upon contact. This is important when the cells you want to kill are cancerous.
Cryosurgery is typically used for tumors or precancerous lesions found on your skin. However, some tumors inside the body can be treated this way as well. Advances in cryosurgery technology have dramatically reduced the long-term side effects once associated with the treatment. More studies are needed on the long-term side effects and effectiveness of cryosurgery.
Also called cryotherapy, is similar to the technique used when doctors freeze off warts using liquid nitrogen spray.