The Palm-Sized Cryoprobe System Based on Refrigerant Expansion and Boiling and Its Application to an Animal Model of Epilepsy

IEEE Trans Biomed Eng. 2015 Aug;62(8):1949-58. doi: 10.1109/TBME.2015.2407692. Epub 2015 Feb 26.


Goal: The purpose of this study is to propose the palm-sized cryoprobe system based on a new concept and to suggest that the freezing technique could be used for treatment of epilepsy.

Methods: We propose herein a cryoprobe system based on the boiling effect that uses a specific refrigerants with a boiling point higher than that of liquid nitrogen yet low enough to result in cell necrosis. To evaluate and verify the effectiveness of the proposed system, cooling characteristics are investigated in agar. In addition, the system is applied to a Wistar rat brain-model, in which the epileptic activities are induced in advance by a potent epileptogenic substance.

Results: The design concept yielded the following benefits: 1) the selected refrigerant promotes sealing in the tank; 2) the tank can be made as compact as possible, limited only by the volume required for the refrigerant; 3) because the tank and probe units can be separated by a nonconducting, flexible, and high-pressure tube, the tank unit can be manipulated without disturbing the probe tip with mechanical vibrations and electrical noise. Although the agar experiments, we verified that the proposed system can uniquely and reproducibly create an ice ball. Moreover, in the rat experiments in vivo, it was confirmed that penicillin G-induced epileptic activities disappeared on freezing with the proposed system.

Conclusions: The palm-sized system has desired characteristics and can apply for an animal model of epilepsy.

Significance: Results of in vivo experiments suggest that cryosurgery may be an effective treatment for epilepsy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain / physiology
  • Brain / surgery
  • Cryotherapy / instrumentation*
  • Cryotherapy / methods*
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Epilepsy / chemically induced
  • Epilepsy / therapy*
  • Equipment Design
  • Necrosis
  • Penicillin G / adverse effects
  • Phantoms, Imaging
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar


  • Penicillin G