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Background: Cryoelectrolysis is a new minimally invasive tissue ablation surgical technique that combines the processes of electrolysis and solid/liquid phase transformation (freezing).
Method: Performing a typical cryoelectrolytic ablation protocol in a tissue simulant made of physiological saline gel with a pH dye, we observed several new physical and electrochemical phenomena of relevance to tissue ablation.
Results: We found that electrolysis can occur simultaneously with phase transformation, at high subzero freezing temperatures, above the eutectic temperature of the frozen salt solution. Another interesting finding is that electro-osmotic flows affect the process of cryoelectrolysis at the anode and cathode, in different ways.
Discussion: The observations are consistent with a mechanism involving ionic movement through the concentrated saline solution channels between ice crystals, at subfreezing temperatures above the eutectic. The findings in this paper may become the scientific basis for designing future cryoelectrolytic ablation surgery protocols.
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