Cryoablation is the process of using freezing temperatures to destroy cancer cells. It is used to treat tumors that have originated in the liver or have spread to the liver from another site. It may also be used to treat some forms of sarcoma. Cryoablation is often used as an alternative or an adjunct to conventional surgery.
During cryoablation, a probe circulating liquid nitrogen is placed in contact with the tumor, causing the cells to freeze. The tumor is frozen, thawed, and refrozen until the malignant cells are completely destroyed. This process is monitored with ultrasound in order to preserve as much nearby healthy tissue as possible.
The images below are computed tomography scans of a liver tumor before and after cryoablation. In the "before" image, the arrow points to the tumor. In the "after" image, the arrow shows where the tumor has been destroyed and only scar tissue remains.
Tumors treated with cryoblation