Cervical cryosurgery or Cryotherapy refers to a gynecological procedure that freezes a section of the cervix. Cryosurgery of the cervix is generally performed to destroy abnormal cervical cells that may result in cancer.
Cryosurgery is performed only after a Colposcopy diagnoses and confirms the presence of abnormal cervical cells or pre-cancerous cells. Cyrotherapy is also used in treating Cervicitis or inflammation of the cervix.
Cryosurgery : The Procedure
During this procedure, the patient will be asked to lie on an exam table with his or her feet placed in stirrups. A speculum is then inserted into the vagina to keep the vaginal canal open so that the cervix can be properly seen. Special instruments known as Cryoprobes are used in Cryosurgery. The Cyroprobes are inserted into the vagina until they cover the abnormal regions of cervical tissue. Liquid nitrogen starts flowing through the Cryoprobes at a temperature of around -50 degrees Celsius. This eventually causes the Cryoprobes to freeze and completely destroy the abnormal cervical tissue.
To enhance the effectiveness of the treatment, freezing is performed for three minutes, then allowing the cervix thaw, and repeating the same treatment for three minutes more.
You can resume most of your normal activities the day after the procedure. It is quite normal to experience a watery discharge from the vagina for the first few weeks. This is in fact caused by the sloughing of the dead cervical tissue.
Please do not insert tampons or douches into the vagina for at least two to three weeks. You should also refrain from sexual intercourse for some weeks.
Risks or complications
You should immediately consult your health care provider if any of the following occur:
Heavy vaginal bleeding
Severe or increase in pelvic pain
Foul smelling or yellowish vaginal discharge.
Cryosurgery is relatively risk-free, producing fewer complications than any other gynecological procedure. After cryosurgery, you will be required to undergo Pap tests every three to six months. Your doctor will inform you how often you require screening for cervical cancer.