Cryocautery of the Cervix

What is Cryocautery?

Cryotherapy is a method of treatment used for cervical dysplasia, or abnormal cells on the cervix. If left untreated, these abnormal cells may develop into cervical cancer. Cryotherapy is a minor procedure that is performed in the doctor’s office. Cryotherapy is not performed if you are having a period or you are pregnant.

During cryotherapy, a speculum is inserted into the vagina. A small instrument is then inserted into the vagina and placed against the cervix. Liquid Nitrogen is used to freeze the cervix. Freezing lasts about three minutes. 

What to expect during and after the procedure?

You may experience some mild cramping and cold sensation during and after the procedure. This should improve after 24 hours. You should take Ibuprofen or Aleve about an hour before the procedure and then after cryotherapy to decrease pain.


There are very few risks involved with cryotherapy. The risks include bleeding, infection, and cervical scarring, which rarely causes difficulty in getting pregnant.

After cryotherapy, a woman can expect a watery, blood tinged discharge. The cervix takes time to heal. It is important to remember to use sanitary pads until the discharge stops completely. Do not use tampons. You should also avoid sexual intercourse until the discharge has resolved. It is important to have follow-up monitoring after cryotherapy with repeat pap smears.

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