Cryosurgery: Its Principles and Application- A Review

Haben Fesseha1* & Tadelech Yilma2

1School of Veterinary Medicine, Wolaita Sodo University, PO box 138, Wolaita Sodo, Ethiopia
2College of Veterinary Medicine, Mekele University, PO box 2084, Mekelle, Ethiopia

Dr. Haben Fesseha, School of Veterinary Medicine, Wolaita Sodo University, PO box 138, Wolaita Sodo, Ethiopia. E-mail:

Keywords: Cancer; Cryosurgery; Liquid Nitrogen; Principle; Technique


Cryosurgery is a type of surgery that involves the use of extreme cold to destroy abnormal tissues. Such type of surgery most often involves the use of liquid nitrogen that has a temperature between -346 and -320°F, although carbon dioxide and argon may also be used. Cryosurgery involves local freezing of tissues for the controlled destruction or removal, by using various action through heat transfer, cell injury, and inflammation. It is typically used for the treatment of equine sarcoids, prostate, angiomas, bovine eye squamous cell carcinoma, oophorectomy in bitches, feline cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma, disbudding in calves. The technique requires minimal post-operative care. Conditions such as skin discomfort, burning sensation of the skin, and hypopigmentation are some of the complications of the technique. Cryosurgery is contraindicated in animals with a history of conditions such as melanoma, compromised circulation, cold intolerance, and cold urticaria. The advantages of cryotherapy are ease of use, low cost, good cosmetic results, and minimal surgical complications. Advancement in cryosurgery technology have dramatically reduced the long-term side effects once associated with the treatment. Yet, more studies are needed on the long-term side effects and effectiveness of cryosurgery.

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