Cervical Cryosurgery


The cervix is the lower portion of the uterus (womb) that is located at the top of the vagina. Cervical cryosurgery is the use of extreme cold to freeze areas of the cervix.

Reasons for Procedure

This procedure is done to destroy and remove abnormal cells of the cervix, particularly precancerous cells.
Cervix with Pre-cancerous Growth
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Possible Complications

Complications are rare. However, no procedure is completely free of risk. If you are planning to have this procedure, your doctor will review a list of possible complications. These may include:
  • Lightheadedness, fainting, hot flashes (during or right after the procedure)
  • Cramping (during the procedure)
  • Bleeding
  • Infection
  • Scarring or narrowing of the cervical opening
Factors that may put you at risk for complications during this procedure include:

What to Expect

Prior to Procedure

You may want to plan for someone to drive you home.Normally, no medications are needed for this procedure. However, pain medications such as ibuprofen, naproxen, or acetaminophen are usually taken. They should be taken about an hour before your appointment. Ask your doctor if this is recommended for you.

Description of Procedure

A device called a speculum is inserted into the vagina to hold it open. The cryosurgery probe is inserted into the vagina. Nitrous oxide makes the tip extremely cold. The tip is touched to abnormal areas on the cervix. It is held there for a few minutes. The tip is removed. This allows the tissue to return to its normal temperature over the course of 3-5 minutes. This freezing and thawing cycle may be repeated several times for each abnormal area on the cervix.You will remain lying down for at least ten minutes after the procedure. Some women may feel lightheaded and/or flushed after the procedure.

How Long Will It Take?

10-20 minutes

Will It Hurt?

You will probably feel some cramping during the procedure. Some women also describe a burning sensation.

Post-procedure Care

At HomeWhen you return home after the procedure, do the following to help ensure a smooth recovery:
  • Do not use tampons. Ask your doctor when you can resume sexual relations.
  • Your doctor will schedule regular pap smears in the near future.
The abnormal tissue of the cervix should shed and flow out of the body in a watery vaginal discharge over 4-6 weeks. In some cases, more than one cryosurgery session may be scheduled.

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