Open Access Research article

Complications after cryosurgery with new miniature cryoprobes in long hollow bones: An animal trial

Frank Popken1*, Peter Meschede1, Heike Erberich2, Timmo Koy1, Marfalda Bosse3, Jürgen H Fischer3 and Peer Eysel1

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, University of Cologne, Josef-Stelzmann-Str. 9, 50931 Cologne, Germany

2 Institute of Pathology, University of Cologne, Josef-Stelzmann-Str. 9, 50931 Cologne, Germany

3 Institute of Experimental Medicine, University of Cologne, Robert-Koch-Str. 10, 50931 Köln, Germany

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BMC Surgery 2005, 5:17  doi:10.1186/1471-2482-5-17

Published: 7 August 2005



In vitro studies show that new miniature cryoprobes are suitable for cryoablation of bone tissue. The aim of this animal trial on 24 sheep was to examine the perioperative complications, particularly the danger of embolism, of cryoablation when using miniature cryoprobes.


Cryoablations with 2 freeze-thaw cycles each were carried out in the epiphysis of the right tibia and the metaphysis of the left femur. Pulmonary artery pressure (PAP) and central venous pressure (CVP) were measured. Throughout the intra- and perioperative phase, heart rate and oxygen saturation by pulse oxymetry, blood gas and electrolytes were monitored regularly. Postoperative complications were examined up to 24 weeks postoperativ.


As result, no significant increase of PAP, CVP or heart rate were observed. Blood gases were unremarkable, with pO2 and pCO2 remaining constant throughout the operation. Regarding pH, standard bicarbonate and base excess, only a non-significant shift towards a slight acidosis was seen. There was a mean hemoglobin decrease of 0.5 g/dl. One animal showed postoperative wound infection and wound edge necrosis. No major peri- and postoperative complications associated with cryosurgery of bone were observed, especially regarding clinically relevant pulmonary embolism.


Surgery with new types of miniature cryoprobes appears to be a safe alternative to or a complement to conventional resection of abnormal bone tissue.