Cryotherapy refers to a treatment in which surface skin lesions are frozen using a cold, medical therapy application. Lesions treated may include:
- viral warts,
- skin tags,
- some benign lesions such as solar and seborrheic keratoses.
Occasionally a qualified healthcare professional may treat superficial skin cancers with cryotherapy. Cryotherapy is not suitable to treat melanomas or any undiagnosed pigmented skin lesion.
What are the risks?
Cryotherapy may be painful at the time of treatment and for a variable period afterward however, it poses little risk and can be well-tolerated by patients who are not good candidates for other surgical procedures. As with all procedures, there is some risk of scarring, infection, and damage to underlying skin and tissue. These risks are generally minimal.
What can I expect after the treatment?
The treatment area may have some redness, swelling, blistering, and oozing of fluid within a few hours after the treatment. Sometimes the blister is clear or may appear to be red or purple in color due to bleeding. Within a few days a dry crust forms. Usually, no special attention is needed during the healing phase.
What are the final results?
After cryotherapy, the skin may appear entirely normal with no sign of the original skin lesion. It may cause a white mark or a scar when the freezing has been deep or prolonged. The white mark may fade but can be permanent. The skin lesion may not have disappeared and may require further cryotherapy or some other form of treatment. Repeat cryotherapy can be performed after 7–10 days. Cryotherapy has been shown to have a high success rate in permanently removing skin growths.