This paper describes the development of a novel cryoprobe with the same size as a 24-gauge injection needle and the evaluation of its cooling performance. This ultrafine cryoprobe was designed to reduce the invasiveness and extend application areas of cryosurgery. The ultrafine cryoprobe has a double-tube structure and consists of two stainless steel microtubes. The outer diameter of the cryoprobe is 550. μm, and the inner tube has a 70-μm inner diameter to depressurize the high-pressure refrigerant. By solving the bioheat transfer equation and considering freezing phenomena, the relationship between the size of the frozen region and the heat transfer coefficient of the refrigerant flow in an ultrafine cryoprobe was derived analytically. The results showed that the size of the frozen region is strongly affected by the heat transfer coefficient. A high heat transfer coefficient such as that of phase change heat transfer is required to generate a frozen region of sufficient size. In the experiment, trifluoromethane (HFC-23) was used as the refrigerant, and the cooling effects of the gas and liquid phase states at the inlet were evaluated. When the ultrafine cryoprobe was cooled using a liquid refrigerant, the surface temperature was approximately -50. °C, and the temperature distribution on the surface was uniform for a thermally insulated condition. However, for the case with vaporized refrigerant, the temperature distribution was not uniform. Therefore, it was concluded that the cooling mechanism using liquid refrigerant was suitable for ultrafine cryoprobes. Furthermore, to simulate cryosurgery, a cooling experiment using hydrogel was conducted. The results showed that the surface temperature of the ultrafine cryoprobe reached -35. °C and formed a frozen region with a radius of 4. mm in 4. min. These results indicate that the ultrafine cryoprobe can be applied in actual cryosurgeries for small affected areas.
- Phase change heat transfer
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)