Cryotherapy or cryosurgery is a method of treating skin lesions by freezing the tissue. It is an effective, safe, affordable and well tolerated treatment.
Liquid nitrogen, having a temperature of minus 196 degrees Celsius is used as a cooling agent. It is applied to the skin using a special spraying device or by direct coating with a cotton swab. Skin cells are destroyed by the very low temperature and thus, skin lesions are eliminated.An inflammatory response develops as a result of the treatment, but the skin rapidly heals in a normal fashion. The most common side effect of cryotherapy is possible transient local hypo-pigmentation in the treated area.
Cryosurgery is a very versatile treatment modality that can be used to treat benign, pre-cancereous or even malignant skin lesions.
Characteristic examples of skin disorders treated with cryotherapy are the following:
- Common and genital warts
- Seborrheic keratoses
- Hypertrophic scars and cheloids
- Venous lakes
Under special circumstances and in selected cases, cryosurgery may be performed for the treatment of skin carcinomas (epitheliomas).