The entire procedure can take as little as 20 minutes. Patients can go straight home after it's done and are spared the painful recovery process.
The idea of using an extremely cold liquid to freeze and destroy abnormal tissue – or cryoablation – isn’t new. Doctors have been doing it in hospitals for the last 30 years.
But IceCure Medical, an Israeli startup, has developed technology that allows physicians to perform the procedure at their own office, with no need for hospitalization.
The breakthrough is the use of liquid nitrogen instead of a mixture of argon and helium gasses. Liquid nitrogen is cheaper, can be frozen faster, and is easier to maintain at sub-zero temperatures, shortening the treatment time.
Doctors insert a small probe, or needle, into the tumor, freezing it at sub-zero temperatures (-190°C) without harming the surrounding healthy tissue. When the tissue thaws, the cells die and are absorbed by the body.
The whole procedure is guided with ultrasound or CT imaging, so the doctor can monitor what is going on inside the body as they create an ice ball around the targeted tissue. The patient stays awake through the entire treatment – and doesn’t feel a thing.
Source: No Camels/ Photo IceCure