Cervical Freezing Treatment Cryosurgery Of The Cervix

Overview & Description

Cryosurgery of the cervix is the freezing of a section of the cervix. This is usuallydone to remove cells that show the types of changes that can lead to cancer in the future. Cellswith these types of changes are called precancerous. The cervix is the lower portion ofthe uterus where it attaches to the vagina.

Who is a candidate for the procedure?

Cryosurgery may be used to treat a woman who has:

  • an inflamed cervix, called cervicitis
  • certain types of precancerous changes in the cervix. These changes are usually firstdetected from a Pap smear.
  • some forms of cervical ectropion, which may cause a chronic or long-standing whitishor yellowish discharge.
  • How is the procedure performed?

    This procedure can often be done in the doctor’s office. First, a tool calleda speculum is used to hold the vaginal walls apart so that the cervix can be seen well.This tool is also used during a regular Pap smear. A bit of gel is then put on the cervix.This helps create a good seal for a tool called a cryoprobe. The cryoprobe deliversliquid nitrogen to the right spot on the cervix. A flow of liquid nitrogen, which isextremely cold, freezes the cervix cells for about 3 to 5 minutes. After a wait of 2 to 3minutes to let the cells warm up, they are frozen again for 3 to 5 minutes. This repeated freezingdestroys the cells.

    Preparation & Expectations

    What happens right after the procedure?

    When cryosurgery has been used to treat precancerous cells in the cervix, a Papsmear should be done every 3 to 4 months after that for one year. During the secondyear, Pap smears should be done every 6 months. A Pap smear is done to test forcancer of the cervix. If a Pap smear is abnormal, a biopsy of the cervix may be neededto check the cells of the cervix more closely. A biopsy involves taking a small piece of tissuefrom the cervix with a special needle. The tissue can then be sent to the lab for analysis.

    Home Care and Complications

    What happens later at home?

    A woman may go back to her normal activities after the procedure. Mildcramping may be treated with over-the-counter medicine, such asibuprofen,naproxen,or acetaminophen.

    During the next month, the cells that were frozen will be lost in theform of a clear discharge from the vagina. So that the tissues can heal, the woman should not put anything in hervagina for 4 to 6 weeks after the procedure. This means she must avoid usingdouches or tampons. And she should not have sexual intercourse during this time as well.

    What are the potential complications after the procedure?

    Rarely, complications can occur, such as:

  • bleeding from the cervix
  • infection of the cervix
  • narrowing of the cervix, which may cause more cramping than normal duringmenstruation if it blocks the menstrual flow
  • Article type: xmedgeneral