We have developed a novel cryoprobe for skin cryosurgery utilizing the Peltier effect. The four most important parameters for necrotizing tissue efficiently are the cooling rate, end temperature, hold time and thawing rate. In cryosurgery for small skin diseases such as flecks or early carcinoma, it is also important to control the thickness of the frozen region precisely to prevent necrotizing healthy tissue. To satisfy these exacting conditions, we have developed a novel cryoprobe to which a Peltier module was attached. The cryoprobe makes it possible to control heat transfer to skin surface precisely using a proportional-integral-derivative (PID) controller, and because it uses the Peltier effect, the cryoprobe does not need to move during the operation. We also developed a numerical simulation method that allows us to predict the frozen region and the temperature profile during cryosurgery. We tested the performance of our Peltier cryoprobe by cooling agar, and the results show that the cryoprobe has sufficient cooling performance for cryosurgery, because it can apply a cooling rate of more than 250 °C/min until the temperature reaches -40 °C. We also used a numerical simulation to reconstruct the supercooling phenomenon and examine the immediate progress of the frozen region with ice nucleation. The calculated frozen region was compared with the experimentally measured frozen region observed by an interferometer, and the calculation results showed good agreement. The results of numerical simulation confirmed that the frozen region could be predicted accurately with a margin of error as small as 150 μm during use of the cryoprobe in cryosurgery. The numerical simulation also showed that the cryoprobe can control freezing to a depth as shallow as 300 μm.
- Enthalpy method
- Numerical simulation of phase change
- Peltier effect
- Precise control
- Rapid cooling