When is cryosurgery used?Cryosurgery is often recommended to treat abnormal Pap smears due to early changes in cell structure called dysplasia. The procedure is often done in the doctor's office. It takes about 15 minutes to perform the treatment, no medication is needed, and it can be done with an IUD in place.
How is cryosurgery done?After you are positioned on the examining table, the doctor will use a speculum to expose the cervix. A probe is used to transmit the gas used for freezing from the tank to the cervix. The gas, usually nitrous oxide or carbon dioxide, is applied for 3 minutes or longer while an ice ball forms.
Will I feel anything during the procedure?You might feel some cramping, like mild menstrual cramps. After the procedure is finished you might feel "weak in the knees."
Will I have any kind of discharge after the cryosurgery?You will probably have a heavy, watery discharge for 2 to 4 weeks. It might be blood tinged, be irritating to the skin, and have an odor. If you wish, you can wear a sanitary pad to absorb the fluid. Do not use tampons. You may take warm tub baths as often as you like to relieve the irritation. The mild cramps may also continue for a few hours or a few days. The doctor will probably prescribe medication to relieve the discomfort.
Will there be a change in my periods because of the cryosurgery?You might experience a temporary change in the pattern of your periods they might be early or late. Bleeding may be heavier or lighter than normal.
Is cryosurgery often used in place of conization?It depends upon the extent of the abnormality. Cryosurgery is effective in eliminating abnormal cells in carefully selected patients. If the abnormal area is large or goes into the cervical opening, then conization is usually used. Sometimes, if cryosurgery does not eliminate all the abnormal cells, conization will be done.
Are there any side effects of the cryosurgery I should report to the doctor?There are some side effects you should call to the attention of the doctor immediately:
• Fever and chills
• Heavy vaginal bleeding with clots
• Extreme pain in the lower abdomen or back