Mechanical Engineering Faculty Research


Numerical Prediction of the Intracellular Ice Formation Zone during Cryosurgery on a Nodular Basal Cell Carcinoma Using Liquid Nitrogen Spray

Document Type


Publication Date

Winter 12-2012


Cryosurgery is a surgical technique that employs freezing to destroy target tumor tissue. While the main objective during a cryosurgical procedure is to ensure tissue destruction within the cryolesion, the greatest challenge is how to spare the surrounding healthy tissues from cryoablation. In this work, a historical review of the field of cryosurgery is presented followed by a theoretical study where a mathematical model is developed for cryosurgery on a basal cell carcinoma (BCC) using liquid nitrogen (LN2) spray. The model takes into consideration the anatomic structure of skin tissue and the irregular geometry of BCC. In particular, a methodology for quantitatively determining the extent of the intracellular ice formation (IIF) zone based on the tissue temperature and cooling rate (CR) is proposed, which can directly relate to the necrosis of the cancer cells after cryosurgery. The model is then used to analyze formation of the IIF zone during cryosurgery on a BCC and quantification is provided for the volume of the final IIF zone. A parametric study is also carried out to investigate the effect of various protocol parameters on the final IIF zone. The results should be useful for dermatologists for pre-treatment surgery planning.

Publication Title

International Journal of Spray and Combustion Dynamics





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