Caring for Skin After Cryosurgery

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Articles, Cryosurgery

Cryosurgery is a procedure that has been performed for over a century. In many dermatologic settings, the agent used for cryosurgery is liquid nitrogen, a liquid gas that remains at a temperature of approximately 300 degrees below zero. Liquid nitrogen has long been a safe and effective agent for removing skin growths such as keratoses and warts.

One of the benefits of cryosurgery is that it is a safe, non-invasive treatment for unwanted skin growths. This treatment, however, is not right for every patient. During consultation with a patient, Dr. Hartman and Dr. Dyck will discuss the details of cryosurgery.

Treating the skin with liquid nitrogen may result in a stinging sensation as nerves respond to the freezing and thawing of tissue. This sensation may last only momentarily, or may last for several hours depending on the thickness and depth of the growth. Stinging sensations may also linger if several growths are treated in a localized area. Discomfort can be minimized with over the counter pain relievers.

What to Expect:

Within a few hours of treatment with liquid nitrogen, blistering may occur in the treatment area. This blister will gradually evolve into a scab, dry up, and fall off. As the skin heals after cryosurgery, there is typically no special care required other than washing with a mild soap a few times a day. The treated growth should be kept dry, and it may heal better under a dressing if located in an area that may rub against clothing. It is important that the scab be left alone, no picking. As the scab dries, Vaseline may be applied.

The risk of infection after cryosurgery is extremely low. Infection would cause pain, swelling, and redness in the treated area. The blister may fill with thick yellow fluid, or a discharge may seep from the growth. If this occurs, contact our office. With treatment, infection can be cleared up quickly.

The Skin Wellness Center of Alabama offers a number of treatment options for growths. Board-certified dermatologists Dr. Corey Hartman and Dr. Rayna Dyck provide an excellent standard of care, tailored to meet the needs of the individual. To address an unwanted growth or another skin concern, contact our office at (205) 871-7332 for your consultation visit.