Cryosurgery is a type of "outpatient" surgery that utilizes liquid nitrogen or argon gas which is extremely cold, to freeze areas of abnormal cell growth within the human body. In many cases, cryosurgery is a relatively common technique utilized in questionable cell growth in a woman's cervix, but has also been used to treat certain types of cancer as well as pre-cancerous or non-cancerous conditions.
Cryosurgery has been offered as a surgical alternative for individuals diagnosed with liver cancer that has not spread, for prostate cancer that has not spread beyond the prostate gland, as well as for the most common, precancerous abnormalities found in the cervix.
What are the Benefits of Cryosurgery?
Cryosurgery, in most situations including obstetrics and gynecology, is a less invasive procedure than surgery. Very small incisions for the insertion of a cryoprobe are necessary, or a cryoprobe may be inserted directly into the vagina for treatment of abnormal cells found in the cervix. Cryosurgery causes less tissue damage to surrounding tissues and is often used in addition to hormone therapy, radiation, and chemotherapy treatments.
Cryosurgery Treatment Procedure
Cryosurgery is commonly provided in a gynecologist's office, most commonly for the treatment of cervical neoplasia. Cryosurgery is also used to control bleeding, and to remove abnormal tissues from the lower part of the uterus as well as the cervix.
Cryosurgery is performed with a patient who is awake when in a doctor's office. It doesn't hurt. In the gynecology field, a speculum is inserted into the vagina, exposing the cervix. A cryoprobe is inserted into the vaginal canal and the tip firmly placed against the surface of the cervix. Liquid nitrogen is delivered to the area as a gaseous form at -50°C through the instrument. The tip of the metal probe then freezes and destroys the abnormal tissues.
A cryosurgery procedure is often performed in less than 10 or 15 minutes. For some women, certain activities may be discouraged for several weeks following the cryosurgical procedure.
How Much Does Cryosurgery Cost?
In the United States, gynecological cryosurgery costs depend on what's being treated, if more than one session of cryosurgery is recommended, and factors such as medical office visit costs, doctor's fees, and portions of fees related to the cryosurgery. Costs may average between $200 and $600, depending on clinic, hospital environment, or geographical location. Individuals traveling to foreign destinations such as Mexico, Central Europe, or India may save money on cryosurgery costs. Generally, cryosurgery is not an expensive treatment, and is accessible to most individuals near populated cities around the world.
Who Performs Cryosurgery?
Gynecologists and gynecologic surgeons typically perform cryosurgery, though general practitioners may also receive training and certification for the procedure. Gynecologists are required to undergo basic medical training in addition to 2 to 4 years of postgraduate training in gynecology obstetrics or gynecology, also known as OB/GYN.
Members of gynecologic and obstetrical professional and surgical associations and organizations are required to maintain their professional standing, obtain a lifelong learning and self-assessment education, complete cognitive expertise through examinations and licensing and undergo periodic evaluation for performance in practice.
Accredited and certified surgeons should belong to associations or other similar organizations or boards in the surgeon’s country of origin. Always verify the education, training and experience of any surgeon who may perform surgery and make sure they are licensed to practice in the facility of your choice.