What is cryosurgery?
Cryosurgery is a technique for removing skin lesions that primarily involve the surface of the skin, such as warts, seborrheic keratosis, or actinic keratosis. It is a quick method of removing the lesions with minimal scarring.
Occasionally if the lesion is very thick (such as a large wart), only the surface is blistered off. The base or residual lesion may need to be frozen at another visit.
Lesions that may be treated by cryotherapy include:
- Actinic keratoses
- Viral warts
- Seborrhoeic keratoses
- Skin tags
What to expect over the next few weeks?
- During treatment – the area being treated will sting, burn and then possibly itch.
- Immediately after treatment – the area will be red, sore and swollen.
- Next day- blister or blood blister has formed, tenderness starts to subside. Apply a Band-Aid if necessary.
- 7 Days- surface is dark red/brown and scab-like. Apply Vaseline or an antibacterial ointment if necessary.
- 2 to 4 Weeks- the surface starts to peel off. This may be encouraged gently during bathing, when the scab is softened.
How to take care of the skin after cryosurgery?
- A Band-Aid can be used for larger blisters or blisters in areas that are more likely to be traumatized- such as fingers and toes. If the area becomes dry or crusted, an ointment (Vaseline, Aquaphor) can also be applied.
- If approved by your Provider, you may bathe, swim, exercise and otherwise follow all of your normal activities.
- The area may get wet while bathing.
- Avoid swimming or hot tub use for one week.
- Within 24 hours, you can expect the area to be swollen and or blistered.