Cryosurgery is a procedure for the removal of abnormal tissue. The term “cryo” comes from the Greek word “kylos” which means “cold.” In the medical community, the term cryosurgery is used to describe a variety of surgical techniques used in the removal of solid tumors of any size. The tissue that is removed using cryosurgery has been treated with a solution containing sodium thioglycolate or sodium citrate. These solutions cause the cells to divide uncontrollably and thus, die. The result is scar tissue, which shrinks back to normal size upon surgery.
Cryosurgery is a highly effective treatment for squamous cell carcinomas of the uterine cervix due to the high rate of success associated with this procedure. Reoccurrences are extremely low and vary, in large part, by the size and location of the cancer. Because the cells are killed by electrosurgery, there is no further damage to the surrounding tissue. Unlike laser therapy, cryosurgery does not cause local swelling or edema of the treated area.
The most common method of cryosurgery is the cryonic suspension method. This method is usually reserved for solid tumors, although some smaller and less threatening tumors may also be cryosurgery treated in this way. The patient is placed under general anesthetic while the treated area is numbed with an anesthetic agent.
Other types of cryosurgeries involve applications that do not require general anesthesia. For instance, in cases where the tissue mass is too large to be reduced by cryosurgery, laser ablation may be applied. In laser ablation, a very thin laser beam is used to destroy abnormal tissue. The laser beam heats the abnormal tissue so that it becomes liquid, allowing it to be surgically removed by a surgical probe. In the case of biopsy, a small instrument equipped with a microscope is used to extract abnormal tissue for microscopic examination. Although laser ablation can cause some scarring in the treated tissue, it is often effective.
Surgical instruments such as a cannula, endoscope, vacuum suction devices, and trays are used during procedures. In addition, certain medications are administered to patients to help control bleeding and to facilitate the removal of abnormal tissue. Abnormal vaginal flora can change with pregnancy, hormone levels, and time spent in the uterus. Changes in the discharge caused by hormones can also affect the vaginal flora. Such procedures can help prevent bacterial infections and promote healing.