Cryotherapy is medical non-surgical treatment involving the removal of skin lesions by using liquid nitrogen to freeze the skin cells until they die. The freezing treatment normally involves 5-10 seconds of the liquid spray being applied with a break of 1-2 minutes between treatment cycles. The duration and number of treatment cycles depend on the skin type and the nature of the problem.
Cryotherapy can be used to treat a wide variety of superficial benign lesions, however, freezing is best suited for:
Removing viral warts
Actinic keratosis (an area of sun-damaged skin found predominantly on sun-exposed parts of the body)
Seborrheic keratosis and other benign lesions
Small skin cancers such as Bowen’s disease and basal cell carcinomas
Cryotherapy is very quick and straightforward procedure performed as an outpatient treatment and involves liquid nitrogen applied to the skin with a spray gun or cotton bud. The procedure is very quick, depending on the thickness and size of the lesion. There is a slight burning sensation during the procedure but this stops once the treatment has ended. The frozen skin becomes white and takes one to two minutes to thaw to normal skin temperature - your doctor may suggest this is repeated once the skin has thawed out. Over the days following treatment, a scab will form, this will take a couple of weeks to fall off – this process cannot be hurried. Depending on the response of the tissue treated, follow up sessions may be required.
All Cryotherapy treatments are done by a Dermatologist as this is a medical treatment and without expert care can cause problems.