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A simple but ingenious device for measuring the precise depth and shape of the ice ball created in cryosurgical procedures promises to dispel some of the remaining doubt associated with this space-age technique.
While cryosurgery now is widely used in dermatology, urology, gynecology, and other specialties, one of the primary drawbacks to the technique has been uncertainty about the extent of tissue being frozen.
It is well understood that differently shaped cryoprobes create a variety of ice balls in tissue, and only long clinical experience enables the surgeon to accurately manipulate freezing times using the full range of ultracold temperatures.
Now a new measurement system, based on the fact that water in normal tissue—but not frozen tissue— conducts electricity, takes much of the guesswork out of cryosurgery, at least as applied to external and oral lesions.
The system was developed by Setrag A. Zacarian, MD, a dermatologist and president of
New technique measures depth, extent of cryotherapy. JAMA. 1979;242(6):505–508. doi:10.1001/jama.1979.03300060007003