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CRH first to offer new therapy for lung cancer patients

Columbus -  

Columbus Regional Hospital is the first facility in Indiana and the only hospital in the Midwest to use a new procedure to treat lung cancer. TruFreeze Spray Cryotherapy uses liquid nitrogen to freeze tissue and cause cell death, much like freezing off warts.

This minimally invasive technology involves placing a small catheter in a standard endoscope to destroy unwanted cells using measured blasts of extremely cold liquid nitrogen.

This method is more effective and causes less pain for patients than the traditional method of treating tumors because it destroys targeted cells but preserves the underlying collagen structure, thereby providing a scaffold for healthy tissue to regrow.

The traditional method involved using a laser to burn the tissue.

David Wilson, MD, FCCP, with Columbus Regional Health’s Lung Institute, is such a proponent of the treatment that he also serves as a training physician for the Midwest. Physicians from facilities such as the University of Chicago, Cleveland Clinic, and Northwestern will visit CRH to train with Dr. Wilson.

“This technique maximizes the efficiency of the spraying to allow us to treat more effectively and in a more patient friendly way with fewer risks of side effects,” said Dr. Wilson. “Patients come to Columbus Regional Health with varying severity of disease, pre-existing conditions, medications, attitudes and fears regarding treatment. Having spray cryotherapy as part of our practice expands the available options for these patients.”

How spray cryotherapy works

Spray cryotherapy is a simple outpatient procedure that typically takes 20-30 minutes to complete. During the procedure, a physician inserts a long tube with a camera on the end (an endoscope) through the mouth to enable viewing of the treatment site.  The physician then threads a specialized spray cryotherapy catheter through the endoscope, selects the ablation area and sprays extremely cold (-196 degrees C) liquid nitrogen on the diseased tissue to flash freeze and destroy it. The tissue is allowed to thaw, and the freeze-thaw cycle is typically repeated several times as determined necessary by the physician.

This rapid freeze and slow thaw of tissue has been proven to destroy the targeted cells without disturbing the underlying connective tissue, providing a framework for healthy cells to regenerate. Patients are typically able to return home the same day and quickly resume normal activity.

Cryotherapy, the use of extreme cold in medical applications, is a proven therapy that has been used for decades to treat diseased tissue on the skin and many parts of the body.  The spray cryotherapy system being utilized at Columbus Regional Health is a novel and versatile ablation option because of its touch-less spray application, which enables physicians to address tissue of varied shapes and sizes.

The truFreeze spray cryotherapy system is manufactured by CSA Medical, Inc.  More information about CSA Medical and spray cryotherapy can be found at An video animation of the process is available at


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