Cryoablation is a treatment option that destroys cancer cells by applying extremely cold temperatures at the location of the tumor. A small cut is made in the skin and a tiny needle called a cryoprobe is inserted. Using image-guidance–either by a computed tomography (CT) scan or by ultrasound–the interventional radiologist maneuvers the cryoprobe toward the location of the tumor.
Next, the cryoprobes are inserted into the tumor to begin freezing it with a gas called argon, creating an “ice ball” over the entire tumor to freeze it for about ten minutes. Nitrogen gas is then used to thaw the tumor for five minutes. This cycle is repeated two or three times depending on the tumor type and size.