Most people in the world feel unsafe when trying one of methods in medical world, which is called cryotherapy. What is actually the word means? People who’ve experienced it explain it as a way of treatment that uses liquid nitrogen to plunge the body to -200º for three minutes. They experimenting their self in this cold treatment. But before we state a superficial discussion about it, we’d better to know what cryotherapy is scientifically.
Cryotherapy is the science of exposing the body to subzero temperatures in order to stimulate physical and mental health benefits. The subzero temperatures area actually subjected to condition colder than North Pole on Mars. Cryotherapy is similar to the concept of applying an ice pack to a painful muscle or joint, but on a larger scale. What are the uses?
First, it is often used by athletes who are sports injured. The cryotherapy is used to relief chronic pain after the injury. This treatment will also improve their athletic performance. Second, it is used to reduce anxiety and improved mood. It’s because cryotherapy can control the high blood circulation and pressure. It leads to cognition improvement. Third, is increasing weight loss. It has potential to burn up 800 calories/session!
The other benefit is for cancer treatment. Liquid nitrogen that is used in the process creates intense cold to freeze and destroy diseased tissue, including cancer cells. The procedure shows us image-guidance techniques such as ultrasound, computed tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance (MR) to help guide the cryoprobes (needle-like applicator in cryotherapy) to treatment sites located inside the body. This makes cryotherapy as one of medical treatment in interventional radiology. It refers to any range of techniques which rely on the use of radiological image guidance. It is one of the minimally invasive alternatives in medical world.
The huge helps cryotherapy gives into medical treatment are amazing. It can be used to treat skin tumors, pre-cancerous skin moles, nodules, skin tags, and unsightly freckles, and retinoblastomas, prostate, liver and cervical cancers. The treatment isn’t only applied in the outer part, but also applied to kidneys, bones, lungs and breast cancer, although further research is needed to determine its long term effectiveness.
The basic concept is that living tissue, healthy or diseased, cannot withstand extremely cold conditions. It will die from cellular dehydration, ice formation within the cell, swelling or sinking cell, and loss of blood supply. Once the cells are destroyed, the white blood cells of the immune system work to clear out the dead tissue.
Doctor will apply liquid nitrogen to the specific area with a cotton swab or spray device. If it’s for tumors deep inside the body, it uses thin, needle-size applicators or cryoprobes. That area will be shaved, sterilized and covered with a sterile drape. Then, the liquid nitrogen gas is delivered. At the end of the procedure, the applicator is removed and pressure will be applied to stop any bleeding. The opening in the skin is covered with a bandage. The entire procedure is usually completed within one to three hours.
You may experience discomfort from having to be still during the procedure. But for sure, your interventional radiologist will help you along the procedures and also follow you up after the treatment to interpret and determine the results.