How is cryosurgery performed in the treatment of benign skin lesions?

Updated: Jan 30, 2020
  • Author: Ginard I Henry, MD; Chief Editor: Gregory Gary Caputy, MD, PhD, FICS  more...
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Cryosurgery is another ablative technique, in which repeated application of freezing agents to a benign skin lesion facilitates its destruction and a separation of the epidermal-dermal junction at the basement membrane. Various agents such as Freon, ethyl chloride, Freederm and liquid nitrogen can be used. Liquid nitrogen is the most widely used and most readily available. A disadvantage of liquid nitrogen is user variability. One method includes using a cotton-tipped applicator, liquid nitrogen is applied 4 times within 60 seconds to freeze the skin. The rapid process of freezing and thawing of the lesion causes the most damage. Erythema and swelling result, and the superficial surface of the lesion spontaneously sloughs. Reepithelialization usually is complete for most small wounds within 72 hours. Hypopigmentation and dysesthesia may complicate cryosurgery but usually are self-limited.

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