Liquid nitrogen is applied to the growth with a spray device or cotton-tipped applicator. This freezes the tissue without requiring any cutting. This treatment is usually for pre-cancerous lesions and for the very earliest most superficial skin-cancer lesions. This treatment will result in some short-term blistering, and occasionally, long-term permanent discoloration leaving the skin white.
What are the symptoms?
Cryotherapy is a safe, effective treatment used for many common skin conditions such as warts or actinic keratosis. On occasion, dermatologists prefer cryotherapy for the treatment of basal cell carcinomas and squamous cell carcinomas.
Who gets it?
Your dermatologist will apply liquid nitrogen – a “frozen liquid “ – using a special applicator with a cotton tip. The applicator is pressed gently against the affected area for a few seconds, depending on the size and diagnosis of the lesion. In some cases, the dermatologist will attempt the freezing process twice. Other cryotherapy alternatives include carbon dioxide snow and DMEP.
Cryotherapy usually is not painful and the patient may feel only a slight stinging sensation, which can increase should the chemical touch the surrounding healthy skin. Some redness or swelling may occur following cryotherapy treatment. Cryotherapy creates a blister, which evolves to a scab. Once the scab falls off, new, healthy skin is revealed. Minor scarring is possible in some cases.