What is cryotherapy?

Cryotherapy is a procedure that uses extreme cold to destroy tissue. The process is called cryo-necrosis, tissue destruction by freezing. We currently use a CryoProbe M.

How is cryosurgery better than other methods of removing skin lesions?

Cryotherapy requires no anesthesia and has less scarring than other techniques of skin lesion removal with minimal post-op care. This technique is commonly used on children versus traditional excision.

What to expect during the CryoProbe treatment process?

The podiatrist will clinically evaluate the width and the depth of the lesion that will be treated. The appropriate applicator and time of the treatment will then be decided. Treatment typically takes 30 to 40 seconds.

When the cold probe is applied to the wart, it may feel like the tip of a ballpoint pen is being pushed into the skin.

What is the healing process?

During the procedure, the area freezes and turns white. After this white area thaws, a flushing occurs and the area will turn red. This thawing is associated with a pinching sensation as a wheal is formed. This wheal will typically turn into a blister which may last for 3 to 5 days before it scabs. The scab will fall off within 2 weeks. Depending on the extent of freeze, a new scab may form and repeat the process. The lesion will be completely healed in 2 to 6 weeks. After primary healing occurs, the area will be lighter than the surrounding area due to loss of melanocytes.

Will there be scarring?

Typically cryotherapy leaves the least amount of scarring of any form of lesion removal because it causes the least damage to the connective tissue. A hypo-pigmented lesion may be noted until it darkens over time.

Is there pain with the procedure?

Pain can be avoided when the freezing can be concentrated on the lesion only. There may be some tingling with the initial freezing, but most patients get an anesthetic effect from the extreme freezing temperatures. More of a pinching sensation occurs when the area thaws out. Some patients have some discomfort for the first day after the procedure. Acetaminophen and Ibuprofen are usually adequate.