Cryoablation is a procedure that uses cold to treat cancer.

During cryoablation, a thin, wandlike needle called a cryoprobe is inserted through the skin. The cryoprobe is placed directly into the cancer. A gas is pumped into the cryoprobe to freeze the tissue. Then the tissue is allowed to thaw. The freezing and thawing process is repeated several times.

Cryoablation for cancer is typically used when surgery isn't an option. Cryoablation is sometimes used as a treatment for many types of cancer, including:

  • Bone cancer.
  • Breast cancer.
  • Cervical cancer.
  • Eye cancer.
  • Kidney cancer.
  • Liver cancer.
  • Lung cancer.
  • Prostate cancer.

Cryoablation also is used to relieve the pain and other symptoms caused by cancer that spreads to the bone, other organs or lymph nodes. It can be used to treat large tumors that can't be treated by surgery.

Cryoablation for cancer also is called percutaneous cryoablation, cryosurgery or cryotherapy.

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Cryoablation for cancer care at Mayo Clinic

Dec. 22, 2022
  1. Cryotherapy. RadiologyInfo.org. https://www.radiologyinfo.org/en/info/cryo. Accessed Oct. 18, 2022.
  2. Jennings JW, et al. Cryoablation for palliation of painful bone metastases: The MOTION Multicenter Study. Radiology: Imaging Cancer. 2021; doi:10.1148/rycan.2021200101.
  3. Parvinian A, et al. Percutaneous cryoablation of larger tumors: Safety, feasibility, and technical considerations. Cardiovascular and Interventional Radiology. 2022; doi:10.1007/s00270-021-03025-7.
  4. Parvinian A, et al. A single-institution experience in percutaneous image-guided cryoablation of lymph node metastases. AJR: American Journal of Roentgenology. 2021; doi:10.2214/AJR.20.22861.