Advice & Treatment for a variety of Skin Complaints – with specialist referral where appropriate.

Cryotherapy

freezing warts & other skin lesions
What is Cryotherapy?
How does it work?
Who can have treatment?
What are the possible complications ?
What should I do afterwards?
What if it doesn’t work?
What is Cryotherapy?
Cryotherapy is the removal of benign skin lesions by freezing them with liquid nitrogen. The treatment lasts for less than a minute; and apart from a slight stinging sensation is pain free.
How does it work?
The liquid nitrogen (at -195.8 C) is applied to chosen site by cotton bud or as a directed spray. Freezing causes ice crystals to form within the cells and destroy them. The most efficient technique employs a rapid freeze and slow thawing.
Who can have treatment?
Cryotherapy is available to all patients over the age of 3years old; it can be used safely for patients with bleeding disorders, or taking warfarin. People with cold-related conditions or Reynaud’s Disease should not be treated. Patients with heavily pigmented skin should be treated with caution since they are more  likely to heal with hyper or hypo pigmented scars.
What are the possible complications ?

After treatment the normal wound can blister, ooze, form a scab and take between 1-6 weeks to heal. Reaction to liquid nitrogen is variable, some patients may blister alarmingly, but satisfactory healing still occurs. Complications are uncommon, but may include; temporary discomfort, irritation and redness, infection, hypertrophic scars, nerve damage, hypo or hyper pigmentation;and ulceration of lower leg lesions.

What should I do afterwards?

Immediately following treatment, apart from slight discomfort, it will look as if nothing has happened to the skin. Gradually over the next few days, swelling, reddening and sometimes blistering will occur. Blistering may occur within 24hours. Keep the treated area dry, if possible, for up to one week. It does not need any dressing unless blistering occurs. If a blister occurs it may be drained with a sterile needle; and a simple, clean, dry, non-sticky dressing applied. Following this stage, healing will occur. This is usually remarkably pain free and leaves only a very slight scar or none at all. After healing continued care through use of a sunscreen, with an SPF of at least 30, is recommended.In darker skins, there is usually an area of de-pigmentation following treatment. This normally recovers over the following year.

What if it doesn’t work?
More than one treatment may be required. Treatments may be safely repeated, after a minimum 2 week interval, if necessary. In order to prevent scarring it is always better to under treat, for resistant lesions multiple short freezes may be used to produce greater cell destruction on subsequent treatments.

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