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Cryotherapy

The term ‘cryotherapy’ literally means ‘treatment using low temperature’ and refers to the removal of skin lesions by freezing them. The most common product used by doctors is liquid nitrogen.

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, seborrhoeic keratoses, Bowen’s disease and other benign lesions.

Occasionally, your dermatologist may suggest using cryotherapy to treat a superficial type of a low grade skin cancer known as basal cell carcinoma.

Liquid nitrogen cryotherapy is a traditional Dermatology treatment that is used to remove or destroy superficial skin lesions and blemishes. It takes advantage of the fact that normal skin cells are tougher to destroy and re-grow in the treated area.

Dermatologists have to undergo bespoke training in order to use this treatment correctly and safely. Other freezing techniques, that do not use liquid nitrogen, have not undergone extensive assessment in clinical trials and do not cool the skin sufficiently well enough to make them a reliable or safe alternative.

Training is important to avoid treating a skin problem that should not be treated with liquid nitrogen or avoiding side-effects such as permanent skin scarring, permanent hair loss, nail damage or permanent pale patches. Even with training, there is a risk that these side-effects may happen.

Cryotherapy is a cold burn that feels like a hot burn. It is an uncomfortable but quick treatment. The skin will feel and behave like hot burn afterwards. It will swell, blister, peel and scab. The new skin may stay pink for several weeks afterwards and sometimes temporarily over-darken with sun exposure. The treatment area can be sore or uncomfortable for several days. Daily Vaseline can help soothe this discomfort.

For some skin conditions, there are alternatives to liquid nitrogen that may better suit the situation. Some skin lesions may re-grow after treatment. That does not mean the treatment was not done correctly. It is just that the success rate of treatment is never 100%. Repeat treatments may be required at additional cost.

The cost of cryotherapy is separate and in addition to any initial or follow-up consultation charge. It is not included in the consultation charge. Purchase, storage and compliance with government regulations of liquid nitrogen as well as the skill required to provide this treatment are reflected the the price we charge both for our cryotherapy and consultation charges.

Call Ros today on 07838 293968 to book a cryotherapy consultation with Dr. Downs or Dr. Bower. For further information call us or use our online form.

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