Cryostat: A chamber that can maintain very low temperatures. Medical laboratories use a cryostat to preserve frozen tissue samples while a microtome, an extremely sharp cutting instrument mounted inside cryostats, slices the tissue into pieces thin enough to be observed under a microscope. The sliced piece must be so thin as to look nearly transparent. A pathologist, a laboratory doctor trained to identify evidence of disease in microscopic structures, then examines the slice to confirm or rule out the presence of a disease, such as cancer. Use of frozen tissue samples enables physicians to examine tissue and diagnose its condition more quickly than if the tissue had been preserved without freezing.
Microtomes may be used alone, without cryostats, to yield thin microscopic samples.
“Cryostat” is derived from the Greek “kryos” (cold) and “statos” (standing, stationary, like the cryostat chamber). “Kryos” gives us many English words, such as “cryonics” (use of coldness in medicine to bring about beneficial results) and “cryosurgery” (use of below- freezing temperatures to destroy disease). “Statos” and related Greek words give us such English words as “static” and “stationary.”
Cryosurgery: Treatment performed with an instrument that freezes and destroys abnormal tissue.
Literally, “cold therapy.” Cryotherapy, sometimes referred to as cryosurgery, is a procedure used to destroy tissue of both benign and malignant lesions by the freezing and re-thawing process. Liquid nitrogen is the most commonly used freezing source for cryotherapy. Examples of the uses of cryotherapy in medicine are the treatment (removal) of various types of […]
Crypt: In anatomy, variously a blind alley, a tube with no exit, a depression, or a pit in an otherwise fairly flat surface. For example, the tonsillar crypts are little pitlike depressions in the tonsils.
Cryptic: Hidden. Cryptic tonsillitis is hidden within the depths of the tonsil. From the Greek “kryptos” meaning hidden or concealed.
Cryptitis: A term that is used to describe one of the abnormalities that is seen under the microscope when small intestinal or colonic tissue is examined. The intestinal crypts are tubular structures composed of cells that protrude from the inner lining of the intestines and into the walls of the intestines. These crypts contain the […]