Cryosurgery, also known as cryotherapy, involves the use of extremely low temperatures produced by liquid nitrogen (or argon gas) to eliminate abnormal tissue.
Suncoast Skin Solutions, led by board certified dermatologist Dr. Christopher Ewanowski, provides cutting-edge skin care treatments to patients in Tampa, Brandon, Lutz, Seminole, Riverview, Brooksville, Winter Haven, Daytona Beach, Largo, St. Petersburg, Ocala, Sarasota, Palm Harbor, Central Florida, Florida, and surrounding locations.
Treating External and Internal Tumors
Cryosurgery helps treat external tumors, such as those present on the skin. In the case of external tumors, liquid nitrogen is applied directly to the cancer cells with a spraying device or cotton swab.
Additionally, cryosurgery is used to treat tumors inside the body, i.e., internal tumors and tumors in the bone. In the treatment of internal tumors, liquid nitrogen or argon gas is circulated through a hollow instrument known as a cryoprobe, which is placed in contact with the tumor.
The doctor uses MRI or ultrasound to guide the cryoprobe and monitor the freezing the cells and thereby limiting damage to the surrounding healthy tissue. Ultrasound involves sound waves bouncing off organs and other tissues to develop an image known as a sonogram.
A ball of ice crystals develops around the probe, freezing the neighboring cells. At times, more than one probe is used to deliver the liquid nitrogen to various areas of the tumor. The probe may be inserted into the tumor through the skin (percutaneously) or surgically.
Following cryosurgery, the frozen tissues will thaw. This tissue will either be absorbed by the body through natural processes (for internal tumors), or dissolve and develop a scab (for external tumors).
What types of cancer can be treated with cryosurgery?
Cryosurgery is used in the treatment of various types of cancers as well as certain precancerous or noncancerous conditions. Other than liver and prostate tumors, cryosurgery can effectively treat the following dermatology conditions:
- Retinoblastoma, which is a childhood cancer that impacts the retina of the eye. Doctors report that cryosurgery is most effective on small tumors located in specific areas of the retina
- Early-stage skin cancers, including basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas
- Precancerous skin growths called actinic keratosis.
- Precancerous conditions of the cervix known as cervical intraepithelial neoplasia, which involves abnormal cell changes in the cervix that can become cervical cancer
Researchers are assessing cryosurgery as a treatment for various cancers, including colon, breast, and kidney cancer. They are also examining the efficacy of cryosurgery in combination with other cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy, hormone therapy, surgery, or radiation therapy.
What are the benefits of cryosurgery?
Cryosurgery provides various benefits over other types of cancer treatment. It is less invasive in comparison to surgery and involves only a tiny incision or insertion of the cryoprobe through the skin. As a result, bleeding, pain, and other surgical complications are minimized.
Cryosurgery is less expensive in comparison to other treatments and warrants a shorter recovery time and hospital stay, and sometimes, no hospital stay is necessary. At times, cryosurgery can be undertaken using only local anesthesia.
As doctors can focus cryosurgical treatment on the targeted area, they can avoid causing damage to the neighboring healthy tissue.
This treatment can be repeated in a safe manner and may be used along with conventional treatments such as chemotherapy, hormone therapy, surgery, and radiation.
Cryosurgery provides an option for the treatment of cancers that are considered inoperable or are unresponsive to conventional treatments. On top of this, this treatment is suitable for patients who are not ideal candidates for conventional surgery due to their age or other health conditions.
Dr. Ewanowski’s dermatology practice and medical spa receives patients from Tampa, Brandon, Lutz, Seminole, Riverview, Brooksville, Winter Haven, Daytona Beach, Largo, St. Petersburg, Ocala, Sarasota, Palm Harbor, Central Florida, Florida, and nearby areas for safe and proven skin care procedures.
SunCoast Skin Solutions Dermatology offices are located in Tampa / Hillsborough, St. Petersburg / Pinellas County, Brandon, Lutz (2 locations), Winter Haven, Largo, Riverview, Brooksville, Ocala, Largo at Bardmoor, Daytona Beach, Sarasota, and Palm Harbor, Florida. Contact us at 1-844-786-3376 or click here.