Cryotherapy is a proven, predictable way to remove many unwanted lesions, from precancers to warts
Whenever you see “cryo” within a word, that term refers to extreme cold. In medical circles, cryotherapy or cryosurgery refers to the precise application of cold temperatures to remove abnormal tissues or growths. This process has been used for more than a century and is completed by an experienced medical provider in a controlled setting. Here at Ginsburg Dermatology Center, we use cryotherapy in various ways. It is a relatively affordable, quick, low-risk, no-downtime, painless, safe, and predictable way to:
- Remove actinic keratoses (AKs), precancerous lesions
- Treat viral warts
- Freeze off seborrheic keratoses, benign lesions (“barnacles of aging”)
- Other surface skin lesions, including hyperpigmentation or brown spots
- Skin tags
Treatment is straightforward; if our dermatologist determines that this is an appropriate option for you, liquid nitrogen is applied to the growth or lesion. It only remains in contact with the targeted area for seconds. The specific amount of time required to effectively and safely freeze off the troublesome tissues depends on the nature of the condition and its size (diameter). We also tailor treatment to account for factors such as the depth of the growth or spot. Thawing is completed before we repeat the process as needed. It is applied so painlessly and non-invasively with sprays or swabs that an anesthetic is not required for comfort during treatment.
Localized swelling and redness are not a cause for concern. That is not uncommon immediately following cryotherapy. We can discuss ways to ease swelling and discoloration; for instance, applying a topical steroidal medication can aid in improving inflammation and tenderness. You may also experience some blistering. Take care not to disturb the treatment site. Scabbing is a good sign that the blister is healing! Just keep the area clean as you would a cut or sore to prevent a secondary infection, and we may recommend a dressing or something to protect the site should your clothes rub up against it. Once the area has healed, our patients are thrilled. Often, the site looks unblemished – as if the original lesion, AK, SK, or wart never existed.
Call Birmingham Dermatology Center at (205) 209-4780 today to schedule your consultation. It is essential to accurately diagnose the skin concern because other conditions are better suited for different types of treatment. Generally, even more, superficial skin cancers may not be appropriate for cryotherapy due to the risk of recurrence or the need for many follow-up visits to assure the therapy successfully eliminates the cancer cells.