In a first-of-its-kind procedure, doctors at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital performed cryoablation to treat cancer in a patient not suitable for surgery. According to hospital officials, this is the first time such a procedure has been performed in North India.

The patient, a 55-year-old woman from Delhi, was suffering from gallbladder cancer and had undergone surgery earlier as well. When the cancer has spread to the liver, see the doctors again. While she was not fit for surgery, cryoablation was chosen for her.

The surgery was performed by a team of doctors from the Department of Interventional Radiology, including Dr. Arun Gupta, Dr. Ajit Yadav, and Dr. Raghav Seth.

According to Dr. Ajit Yadav, Consultant, Department of Interventional Radiology, cryoablation is a minimally invasive treatment to kill cancer cells with very cold gases. It works on the principle of the “freeze-thaw-freeze” cycle.

A thin needle, called a cryoprobe, is placed directly into the cancerous growth under ultrasound or CT guidance. The cryogenic probe circulates very cold gases such as liquid nitrogen to freeze and kill cancer cells. The tissue is then allowed to thaw. Finally, another cycle of freezing takes place. The time required depends on the size, location and type of tumor.

In general, cryoablation can also be used to manage other types of cancers including those of the lung, kidney, bone, liver, and breast. The operation takes about 1.5 to 2 hours. It is safe and the risks involved are generally lower than those of surgery. “An additional advantage of cryoablation is that it can be repeated if needed,” said Dr. Ajit Yadav.

According to Dr. Arun Gupta, Chair and Senior Consultant, Department of Interventional Radiology, this is the first time in North India that cryoablation has been performed. It was chosen for the patient where the cancer was relatively large and very close to the vessels of the liver and other vital structures.

Dr. Raghav Seth, Associate Consultant, Department of Interventional Radiology, said cryoablation is associated with fewer side effects, is pain-free with faster recovery, gives a better defined treatment margin and causes less damage to surrounding tissues.


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