Medicine: Carter's Injury

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Particularly useful for piles near the sensitive anus is cryosurgery. A probe, cooled by liquid nitrogen (temperature: -196° C or -321° F), painlessly freezes the troublesome tissue. But freezing produces a foul-smelling discharge that requires wearing a sanitary pad for a few weeks. It is also more expensive: several hundred dollars vs. about $50 for each hemorrhoid by the ligation method.

As for Jimmy Carter, his discomfort, both private and public, was more easily ended. Last week, after rest and "routine pain medication," he was so improved that his doctors decided against surgery unless there is another flare-up.

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