Cryocoolers pp 47-63 | Cite as

Joule Thomson Cryocoolers and Cryoablation

  • Harrison M. Skye
  • John M. PfotenhauerEmail author
Part of the International Cryogenics Monograph Series book series (ICMS)


Joule Thomson (JT) cryocoolers are finding increased use in the medical application of cryoablation. A high-pressure gas, flowing through the recuperator and orifice of a Joule Thomson cycle produces cooling at the inside tip of a catheter, and an ice ball consequently forms in the surrounding tissue where the catheter tip is located. In one of the most common applications, the catheter tip is positioned at the site of cancerous tissue and when activated, the cooled catheter tip and associated ice ball destroy the cancerous tissue. Upon warming back to normal temperature, the dead cells are then absorbed by the body. The details and advantages of using a cryoablation system based on a two-stage mixed-gas JT cycle are presented. However, a variety of commercial products for cryoablation are available, varying significantly in their technical approach. Multiple product examples presently in use within the USA are described both in terms of their specific JT cycle and working fluid, as well as the associated hardware configurations. High success rates and the associated advantages of this medical procedure such as no-pain and no-scarring combine to suggest a very promising future for cryoablation.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.HVAC&R Equipment Performance Group, Engineering LaboratoryNational Institute of Standards and Technology – GaithersburgGaithersburgUSA
  2. 2.Department of Mechanical EngineeringUniversity of Wisconsin - MadisonMadisonUSA

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