What is the role of cryotherapy in the treatment of lentigo maligna melanoma?

Updated: Dec 19, 2019
  • Author: Winston W Tan, MD, FACP; Chief Editor: William D James, MD  more...
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Cryotherapy is not standard for the management of lentigo maligna, but it is often used in patients who are not candidates for surgery. Temperatures of -4°C (24.8°F) to -7°C (19.4°F) selectively destroy melanocytes while preserving keratinocytes in skin and mucosal epithelia.

Most authors discourage using cryotherapy for lentigo maligna, because focal lentigo maligna melanoma cannot be detected clinically. In addition, cryotherapy can have complications that include hypopigmentation, infection, scarring, inability to detect invasive melanoma, and failure to treat periadnexal involvement.


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