Cryotherapy is a procedure that uses extreme cold to destroy unwanted tissue – most unwanted skin lesions can be treated in this way, common lesions include warts, moles, skin tags and solar keratosis – brown spots.
Tissue cells are destroyed during the procedure when they are rapidly brought down to a low temperature forming ice crystals. The ice crystals break down the structure of the cell and water then fills the surrounding area creating a blister. Healing occurs within 2 to 6 weeks depending on the depth of the freeze. Its very important to keep the blister intact for as long as possible. In doing this the healing process is more aesthetically pleasing.
There may be some tingling with the initial freezing, but most patients get an anaesthetic effect from the extreme freezing temperatures. More of a pinching sensation occurs when the area thaws out. The area treated will feel hot after the treatment for a few hours.
Typically CryoPen® leaves the least amount of scarring of any form of lesion removal because it causes the least damage to the connective tissue. The area of skin treated will appear lighter or pink compared the surrounding skin which usually darkens over time. Please note this could take a few months. Its common for the face to heal better than the body. It is also very important to protect treated areas from sun exposure. Regular application of 50 SPF is necessary.
For most conditions, CryoPen® is a permanent removal. Some conditions are harder to remove than others, and in delicate areas a shorter freeze time with repeat procedures may be required to achieve a final result with the least damage to surrounding skin. In other cases, where the condition is deep (such as stubborn warts or verrucas) several aggressive treatments may be required to achieve total removal.
Freeze time varies depending on the type of lesion. A typical freeze time is between 5 seconds for small flat warts to 120 seconds for a large full thickness lesion. For general purposes most lesions take about 30 seconds.
- No contact with dangerous cryogenic gases or liquids
- Immediate treatment without referral
- Low risk procedure
- Simple, safe, effective treatment with little discomfort
What are the series of events after the CryoPen® procedure?
During the procedure, the area freezes and turns white. After the white area thaws, flushing occurs that turns the area red. This thawing is associated with a pinching sensation or a dull ache as a blister is formed. This water blister may rupture naturally (do not force rupture) within 24-48 hours and within 3-5 days the area will begin to form a scab. During this time it is important that the area is kept clean and dry to prevent infection, a small dressing may be required.
The scab will fall off in approximately 1-2 weeks. Depending on the extent of the freeze a new scab may reform and the process will repeat itself. The lesion will be completely healed in 2-6 weeks. After primary healing occurs the area may be whiter than the surrounding tissue, usually this repigments over time.
What are the possible side effects and risks involved?
1. BLISTER OR SCABBING
A blister or scabbing can form up to 48 hours after treatment. An antibiotic cream or ointment can be used. Other short term effects include bruising, superficial crusting, and discomfort.
2. BROWNING OR LIGHTNING
Hyperpigmentation (browning) and hypopigmentation (lightening) can occur with some people. These conditions usually resolve within 2-12 months. Permanent colour change is a rare risk but is possible. Vigilant care must be taken to avoid sun exposure (tanning beds included) before and after the treatments to reduce the risk of color change. A physical sun block (with zinc) must be applied when sun exposure is necessary to protect the pigmented area. There is no guarantee that the area will fully repigment. However for most individuals it does if the skin is not exposed to tanning elements. Follow up care is available to help stimulate re-pigmentation if necessary.
Infection is not usual after treatment but can occur whenever the skin is broken.
4. NOT RECOMMENDED FOR DARK SKIN
On darker skin tones Cryopen is not recommended. We can assist darker skin tones with our Cutera Nd Yag or Plasma Pen instead.
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