Cryotherapy is a controlled cold burn used to remove abnormal skin lesions, including age warts (seborrhoeic keratoses), precancerous skin lesions (actinic keratoses) and some other growths.
What does it involve?
It involves 10-40 seconds of a freezing spray applied to the skin lesion. It usually stings and may occasionally be uncomfortable for a few hours afterwards.
What are the benefits?
Cryotherapy is a method of treating certain skin lesions that may avoid the need for surgery.
How long does the procedure take?
This will depend upon the size of the lesion being treated, but is usually 10-40 seconds. Sometimes a second treatment is required some time in the future if the lesion comes back or has not been fully treated.
What is the recovery period?
After the treatment the skin becomes red and swollen, and this lasts for a few days. Occasionally a blister will develop which may ooze fluid before forming a crust or scab. Blisters should usually be left to heal on their own and not pricked.
If the pain persists, normal painkillers such as paracetamol or ibuprofen may be taken.
How long before daily activities may be resumed?
Once the fluid discharge or blistering settles down and the wound is dry, the skin may be washed. Make-up can be applied once the area has healed.
What are the success rates?
This depends upon what the cryotherapy is being used for. It is usually successful in treating age warts (seborrhoeic keratoses), precancerous skin lesions (actinic keratoses) and other small lesions.
Sometimes the procedure needs to be repeated to achieve full resolution of the lesion.
What are the possible complications?
Cryotherapy is safe, but there is are small risks of infection, scarring, damage to underlying skin, and very occasionally, nerve damage.
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