Surgery: The Cold That Cures

Surgeons listened in wonderment when Dr. Irving S. Cooper first described his "ice scalpel" and a new way to shoot liquid nitrogen through the brain to freeze part of the thalamus as a treatment for Parkinson's disease (TIME, July 6, 1962). Now, Dr. Cooper's cold is surgery's hottest technique — a tool for treating a dozen or more conditions in all parts of the body.

Called cryosurgery, from the Greek kryos (cold or frost), the new method actually involves neither ice nor scalpel. The surgeon inserts a thin cannula (tube) that kills offending...

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