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Cryosurgery of the cervix

What is cervix cryosurgery and when is it necessary?

Cervix cryosurgery is a freezing procedure in which the abnormal tissue of the cervix is frozen, followed by tissue death. The tissue destroying process is used for the treatment of the precancerous conditions (CIN I, CIN II, CIN III) of cervix.

The development of cervical cancer

Cervical conization - Cervical cancer
Cervical conization - Cervical cancer

HPV (human papillomavirus) is a group of viruses that is mainly transmitted through sexual contact. We know more than a hundred types of HPV of which we differentiate low, medium and high risk types from each other. Only certain types of HPV (high risk HPV such as number 16, 18, 31, 33, 35, 45, 52) can be responsible for the development of cervical cancer.

Nearly 80 percent of sexually active woman was or will be infected by certain types of the virus at some point of their lives.

A properly functioning immune system can defeat the virus within 1-2 years, but it is very important to participate in a cervical cancer screening regularly because of prevention. In case of HPV suspected, HPV typing is required, followed by a cancer screening in every half year until it is necessary. The disease develops slowly, over several years, therefore regular cervical cancer screening is efficient because the abnormal tissue that has been recognized in time, can be successfully managed with proper treatments.a

The most effective ways of preventing cervical cancer

  • Receiving HPV vaccine before the start of sexual activity, or when the infection doesn’t exist in the body for those type of viruses that the vaccine protects against.
  • Monogamy
  • Sexual responsibility
  • Regular cervical cancer screening

What is cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN)?

Cervical intraepithelial neoplasia is a precancerous condition in which abnormal cells develop on the surface of the cervix.

The classifications of CIN

CIN I: mild dysplasia, spontaneous healing

CIN II: moderate dysplasia, abnormal changes in about one-third to two-thirds of the epithelial layer

CIN III: severe dysplasia, abnormal changes more than two thirds of the epithelium

How does cervix cryosurgery go?

During the process, the cold is introduced through a probe in which liquid nitrogen circulates. Freezing takes only a few minutes. To destroy abnormal tissues, the tissue is cooled below -20 degrees Celsius. The vaginal canal is opened during surgery with a speculum so that the cervix is visible. The cryo probe is inserted into the vagina and placed on the surface of the cervix where the abnormal tissue is located. Compressed gaseous nitrogen (about -50 degrees Celsius) flows through the instrument, which makes the metal cool enough to freeze and destroy the abnormal tissue.

Cervix cryosurgery

On the basis of the findings the surgeon decides that he/she is using a double freeze or a one-time freeze. Double freezing lasts twice for three minutes with a break of five minutes (melting stage).

Cryosurgery is an outpatient treatment, so that the patient can leave the hospital shortly after the procedure. Returning to work is possible the following day.

What complications can occur after cervix cryosurgery?

Cervix cryosurgery is a painless and fast procedure, that has no significant complications, however, after surgery there will be some water discharge because of the shedding of the dead tissue.