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Cryosurgery, also called cryotherapy or cold cautery, is a freezing technique used to destroy abnormal tissue on the surface of the cervix.

Cryosurgery is an office procedure. You may take ibuprofen before your visit to help with minimal cramping.

The Procedure

A metal cone-shaped instrument that is attached to a liquid nitrogen tank is applied to the cervix at the os or opening. After 3 to 5 minutes, the tissue is frozen and white. As the cervix heals, the destroyed cells are shed and replaced by new, healthy cells.

Instructions for recovery:
  • After the procedure, put nothing in your vagina for one month. This means no tampons, no douching, and no intercourse.

  • Avoid strenuous exercise or heavy lifting.

What to expect:

Most women have a healthy discharge, which decreases after a week and disappears in four to six weeks. This discharge can be clear and watery or sometimes yellow or pink.

A repeat Pap smear will be done after your cervix has healed, about 3 to 4 months after the cryosurgery.

Please call the Women's Health Care Center at 206-598-5500, if you have any questions.

Women's Health Care Center

University of Washington Medical Center-Roosevelt

June 2002

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