Cryotherapy is a procedure that uses extreme cold (liquid nitrogen) to freeze a skin lesion. The rapid freezing destroys the cells and the skin lesion is cured.
Cryotherapy requires no anaesthesia and has less scarring than other techniques of skin lesion removal with minimum post-op care.
WHAT TYPE OF LESIONS ARE APPROPRIATE TO FREEZE?
Almost any unwanted skin lesions are appropriate, such as, warts, moles, actinic keratosis, seborrheic keratosis, keloids, and sun spots to name just a few.
All malignant skin lesions – melanomas and recurrent basal cell carcinomas are contraindicated for cryotherapy.
HOW LONG DOES A SINGLE FREEZE TAKE?
Freeze times vary with the type of lesion and the area on the body, but for general purposes most lesions take about 20 to 30 seconds.
IS THE PROCEDURE PAINFUL?
There may be some stinging with the initial freezing but most patients get an anaesthetic effect from the extreme cold. Some patients have some discomfort for the first day after the procedure.
WHAT TO EXPECT AFTER THE TREATMENT
A blister forms 2-24 hours after the freeze. Blisters may take several days to drain or dissolve. Once a blister breaks, a crust will form over the lesion. Healing occurs from 1-6 weeks depending on the depth of the freeze and the size of the lesion.
HOW MANY TREATMENTS WILL I NEED?
Some lesions are harder to remove than others. In more delicate places a shorter freeze time with repeat procedures may be required to get a final result with the least damage to the surrounding skin. In other instances a deep lesion may take several aggressive treatments to get a final result. In particular, warts that don’t have pre-treatment may take multiple freezes.
WILL THERE BE SCARRING?
Typically, Cryotherapy leaves the least amount of scarring of any form of lesion removal because it causes the least damage to the surrounding tissue. A hypo-pigmented lesion will be noted until this darkens with new tanning.