What is a Cryotherapy procedure
Cryotherapy is the application of extreme cold (from liquid nitrogen) to destroy abnormal or diseased tissue, such as warts, skin tags, solar keratoses and small skin cancers. It is a minimally invasive procedure and is preferable to other forms of surgery in the right setting because of its minimal pain and good cosmetic result..It is also referred to as cryosurgery or cryoablation.
What is involved in a Cryotherapy procedure
Cryotherapy is performed without local anaesthetic as the freezing temperature acts as an anaesthetic. The Dermatologist uses a canister with very precise nozzles to spray the area to be treated with liquid nitrogen. Procedures last from around 5 minutes to 30 minutes
The skin will turn white where it has frozen. It will return to a more normal colour after a few minutes when it has thawed out.
Over the next few days a scab will form and this will drop off within one to two weeks. Depending on the size and nature of the lesion, it may be necessary to have more than one treatment to ensure successful removal of the growth so your Dermatologist will normally ask you to return for repeat treatment.
What are the risks or potential side effects of a Cryotherapy procedure
Most people experience mild discomfort during the cryotherapy process but it can be more painful if a deep freeze has been necessary. There may be some discomfort after the procedure such as swelling and redness, or oozing for up to two or three days after. Common painkillers are recommended to ease the discomfort immediately after the procedure.
In rare cases a scar may form on the site of the freezing. The pigment of the skin may lighten or dark in colour in the weeks or months following the treatment. This will usually return to normal in time but sometimes can be permanent.
If a superficial nerve is frozen this may cause numbness in that area of skin for a few weeks or months but normal feeling should return.
What aftercare is required for a Cryotherapy procedure
Your dermatologist will give you specific advice on how to look after the treated area. It is usually advised that the area is kept dry until the scab dries. If the scab becomes wet then it should be patted dry with a soft towel or tissue. The scab should not be picked as it is more likely to scar. It may be advised to apply Vaseline to the area. A dressing or plaster is not usually advised but may be necessary if the area is prone to excessive rubbing. Areas that have been treated should be kept out of the sun.
What is the cost of a Cryotherapy procedure
The cost is based depending on the number of lesions to be treated. For new patients a consultation is required. You can find our fees here.
Is there any preparation needed before having a Cryotherapy procedure?
You may be advised to wear loose fitting clothing on the day of the treatment to avoid clothing rubbing and causing discomfort to the treated area after the procedure.