Israel’s Arbel Medical is hoping that its new liquid nitrogen-utilised IceSense technology will provide a platform for simple cryotherapy and in turn, non-invasive treatments for benign breast lumps which usually require expensive surgery on an operating table.

IceSense provides a solution for surgery without scars and offers the hope of efficient treatment in local clinics without the need for hospitalisation. Liquid nitrogen is pumped to the end of a thin needle probe, cooling the tip to the extreme cold required for cryotherapy. Pulses of nitrogen are used rather than a steady flow, which doesn’t cool the shaft of the probe but when collected in the tip the liquid boils into gas, drawing heat from the end of the probe and the surrounding body tissue. The gaseous nitrogen is then drawn off and as the temperature at the end of the probe plummets, an ice-ball forms around the tip and freezes the surrounding tissue.

Dr Rafi Klein, a senior surgeon specialising in breast surgery at the Ramban Medical Centre in Haifa, commented simply, “There is a lot of demand for finding a solution to surgery without causing scars.”

The most popular method of achieving cryotemperatures is by using liquid nitrogen, and this super-cold liquid is used in a variety of applications to provide extreme cooling.