Know What is Cryotherapy

Cryotherapy is a medical procedure used to treat various types of tumors, bothbenign tumor (non-cancerous), precancerous, or vicious (cancer), located in surfaceas well as in organs in the body. This procedure uses a special liquid that freezes and kills tumor cells.

The process of giving this special fluid can be by spraying or wiping, depending on the location and size of the tumor. The patient must first consult a doctor, because there are some conditions that do not allow the patient to perform cryotherapy.

There is also a similar procedure called whole body cryotherapy (WBC) or comprehensive cryotherapy. Comprehensive cryotherapy is believed to be able to treat asthma,rheumatoid arthritis, to reduce weight. However, there are no studies that clearly describe the effectiveness of comprehensive cryotherapy.

Indications for cryotherapy

Cryotherapy is used to treat various types of tumors, ranging from benign (noncancerous), precancerous, to malignant (cancerous) tumors. Considerations for cryotherapy will be assessed by the doctor, depending on the type and severity of the tumor. Some of the conditions that can be treated with cryotherapy include:

  • Retinoblastma.
  • Basal cell carcinoma.
  • Squamous cell carcinoma.
  • Prostate cancer.
  • Solar keratosis, These are rough, scaly lesions caused by years of sun exposure and are commonly found on the face, lips, or ears.

Cryotherapy can also be used to treat tumors located in the bone. Treatment of tumors in the bone using cryotherapy is less risky in terms of causing joint damage or amputation, when compared to treatment with surgery.

Doctors may also use cryotherapy as a method of treating other conditions not listed above. Before undergoing cryotherapy, be sure to discuss it with your doctor first regarding the benefits and risks that will be obtained.


There are several conditions that do not allow a person to perform cryotherapy, namely:

  • Allergy to cold.
  • Raynaud's disease.
  • cryoglobulinemia, that is, a condition in which there is a substance cryoglobulin in the blood that can cause inflammation, usually in the kidneys or skin.

Cryotherapy can cause different side effects, depending on the location and size of the tumor. For example, in patients with tumors or prostate cancer, the side effects of cryotherapy procedures can be impotence or loss of sexual function.

Cryotherapy in pregnant or lactating women should first be consulted with a doctor. The doctor will consider the comparison of the benefits and risks to the womb and fetus, to determine whether or not cryotherapy is needed. Also tell your doctor if you have a history of allergies to anesthetics or are taking other medicines, including supplements and herbal products.

Cryotherapy Preparation

The preparation that needs to be done before undergoing a cryotherapy procedure may vary, depending on the condition to be treated. But in general, cryotherapy requires only simple preparation.

For the treatment of internal organs, such as the prostate, the doctor will ask the patient to fast for 12 hours first. Patients are also advised to invite their family or relatives to accompany and take them home after the procedure.

Cryotherapy Procedure

Cryotherapy procedures vary, depending on the location and size of the tumor. If cryotherapy is used to treat tumors on the skin, then the treatment will be done by spraying or wiping the tumor using a special liquid containing nitrogen. The fluid serves to freeze and kill tumor cells.

To treat tumors in internal organs, the doctor will first give the patient an anesthetic, either local or total. Anesthesia or anesthesia aims to relieve pain when the doctor makes an incision or hole into the entrance of the instrument used in this procedure.

Next, the doctor will perform a scan to find out the location and size of the tumor. Once the size and location of the tumor is known, the doctor will make an incision or hole that is used for entry cryoprobe. Cryoprobe is a special tool in the form of a small tube to spray liquid nitrogen, which serves to kill tumor cells. The liquid spraying process is generally carried out more than once, and can take several minutes or hours, depending on the conditions being treated.

Endoscopy is also often used as a supporting procedure in cryotherapy, to make it easier for doctors to see the condition of the organ being treated.

After Cryotherapy

The recommendations that need to be followed post-procedure may vary. In patients with tumors on the surface of the body, it is usually allowed to go home after the procedure is complete. However, in patients with tumors in internal organs, doctors will recommend hospitalization until the condition recovers. During hospitalization, doctors will carry out treatment and direct supervision, in order to restore the patient's condition after cryotherapy.

The recovery time also varies. Tumors on the skin generally heal in 4-6 weeks. However, if the tumor is large, recovery time can take up to 14 weeks. To help with recovery, the doctor will advise the patient to:

  • Keep the wound clean. Keep the scar clean by washing it carefully with soap and water.
  • Bandage. Bandages are used to protect the scar from dust or other debris. Bandages should be changed regularly, especially when they are visibly soiled or wet.
  • Drug. Doctors can also prescribe antibiotics or corticosteroids. Antibiotics are given to prevent infection, and corticosteroids are given to reduce redness, pain, and swelling of the scar.

Risks of Cryotherapy

Although it is considered a lower risk when compared to other cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy, cryotherapy is still at risk of causing side effects. Side effects that occur can be different for each person, depending on the location and size of the tumor being treated. Some of the side effects of cryotherapy include:

  • Damage to healthy organ tissue or cells.
  • Infection of the scar.
  • Sexual dysfunction.
  • Painful.
  • Blistered skin.
  • Boil.
  • Bleeding.
  • Alopecia or bald.
  • Hypopigmentation.

Cryotherapy can also cause various other side effects. It would be better if the patient had regular check-ups with the doctor, so that his condition could be monitored thoroughly.