Cryosurgery freezes the tumor to stop it from growing. This is done with a special probe that contains liquid nitrogen or liquid carbon dioxide. The probe is placed through the skin and directed into the tumor, guided by computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), or ultrasound (US).

Cryosurgery is used to treat both benign and malignant tumors. With liver tumors, it may be used to ablate localized hepatocellular carcinoma (primary liver cancer) or liver metastases. Cryosurgery has fewer side effects and has shorter recovery time compared to many other treatments.