Cryotherapy for Abnormal Cervical Cell Changes
Cryotherapy destroys abnormal tissue on the Reference cervix Opens New Window Reference Opens New Window by freezing it. Cryotherapy destroys some normal tissue along with the abnormal tissue. During cryotherapy, liquid carbon dioxide (CO2), which is very cold, circulates through a probe placed next to the abnormal tissue. This freezes the tissue for 2 to 3 minutes. It may be allowed to thaw and then be refrozen for another 2 to 3 minutes. A single freeze treatment for 5 minutes may also be used.
Cryotherapy causes some discomfort. Most women feel a sensation of cold and a little cramping, and sometimes a sense of warmth spreads to the upper body and face.
Cryotherapy is not adequate treatment if abnormal cells are high in the cervical canal. In that case, another treatment, such as a Reference cone biopsy Opens New Window, will be recommended instead of cryotherapy.
How it is done
Cryotherapy is usually done at your doctor's office, a clinic, or a hospital as an outpatient procedure (you do not have to spend a night in the hospital).
You will need to take off your clothes below the waist and drape a paper or cloth covering around your waist. You will then lie on your back on an exam table with your feet raised and supported by footrests (stirrups). Your doctor will insert an instrument with curved blades (speculum) into your vagina. The speculum gently spreads apart the vaginal walls, allowing the inside of the vagina and the cervix to be examined.
Your doctor may use medicine to numb the cervix (cervical block).
|By:||Reference Healthwise Staff||Last Revised: December 28, 2010|
|Medical Review:||Reference Sarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine
Reference Kirtly Jones, MD - Obstetrics and Gynecology