Cryoablation: Mechanism of action and devices
Cryoablation refers to all methods of destroying tissue by freezing. Cryoablation causes cellular damage, death, and necrosis of tissues by direct mechanisms, which cause cold-induced injury to cells, and indirect mechanisms, which cause changes to the cellular microenvironment and impair tissue viability. Cellular injury, both indirect and direct, can be influenced by four factors: cooling rate, target temperature, time at target temperature, and thawing rate. In this review, the authors describe the mechanisms of cellular injury that occur with cryoablation, the major advantages and disadvantages of cryoablation compared with other thermal ablation techniques, and the current commercially available cryoablation ablation systems.