Cryogenic applications

Cryogenics is the application of frozen liquids below their boiling point: –130°F (–90°C) for the freezing of samples in different fields, such as cryosurgery, dermatology and human tissue conservation.

What is cryogenics?

Cryogenics is the science that studies and addresses how materials are created and behave in specific ways at very low temperatures. The chemical characteristics of materials are altered at extremely low temperatures. 

Cryogenic temperatures range from -150° C to -273° C, which is substantially lower than the temperature at which water turns from a liquid to a solid at 0° C (32° F). The environment is referred to as cryogenic whenever a gas starts to liquefy. The most often used gases for cryogenics in healthcare are nitrogen, oxygen and helium.

Liquid nitrogen

Cryopreservation

Cryopreservation is the process by which biological material is stored at very low temperatures (-196ºC), keeping all its characteristics intact.

The objective of cryopreservation is the conservation of cellular tissues at temperatures below -130ºC since at this temperature all signs of life are suspended without cell deterioration. Thus, it is possible to keep biological samples for an indefinite period of time and use them later in transplants or in-vitro fertilization.

Cryopreservation applications include in-vitro fertilization, blood transfusion, tissue, cell and umbilical cord blood banks, research laboratories and dermatology.

Cryotherapy

Cryotherapy is a minimally invasive treatment in which diseased tissue, including cancer cells, is frozen and destroyed using extreme cold using a liquid or instrument at low temperatures. Cryogenic gases such as liquid nitrogen (N2) are used by healthcare professionals to freeze and destroy abnormal cells.

Cryotherapy (also known as cryosurgery, cryoablation, percutaneous cryotherapy, and targeted cryoablation therapy) is most commonly used to treat skin conditions such as warts and lesions, but it is also being used in general surgery, dermatology, thoracic, oncology, proctology, and urology procedures to ablate (remove or destroy) cancerous tissue.

The ability to target and freeze specific cancers while sparing nearby healthy tissues and skin is what makes cryotherapy such a versatile and popular medical procedure.

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