A wide variety of superficial benign (non-cancerous) lesions can be treated with cryotherapy, but it is most commonly used to remove actinic keratoses (an area of sun-damaged skin found predominantly on sun-exposed parts of the body), viral warts and other benign lesions. The term ‘cryotherapy’ means ‘treatment using low temperature’ and refers to the removal of skin lesions by freezing them. The most common product used is liquid nitrogen.
How does it work?
Cryotherapy involves the application of a very cold substance onto an affected lesion in order to create a form of controlled burn. Cryotherapy is simple and quick to undertake and as it does not break the surface of the skin, the affected area does not require dressing, and does not have to be kept dry directly following the treatment. Since liquid nitrogen is not toxic or poisonous, it is a perfectly safe medium. Although there is slight local pain felt, cryotherapy does not normally require a local anaesthetic, and the procedure itself lasts a matter of seconds; the precise time depends on the thickness and size of the lesion. The frozen skin becomes white and takes one to two minutes to thaw back to normal skin temperature.
What results can I expect?
After a few days, a scab will form, and this will take one to two weeks to fall off. The majority of patients who receive cryotherapy on weight bearing verrucae will experience discomfort/pain during treatment, and some level of discomfort that will normally last for 1-4 days.
How many treatments will I need?
Depending on the nature of the lesion, more than one treatment may be necessary, and this is usually repeated at regular intervals. A personal plan will be discussed in your consultation.