Cryotherapy, also known as cryosurgery, is a commonly used in-office procedure for the treatment of a variety of benign and malignant lesions such as. In one report, cryotherapy was the second most common in-office procedure after skin excision. The mechanism of destruction in cryotherapy is necrosis, which results from the freezing and thawing of cells. Treated areas re-epithelialize. Adverse effects of cryotherapy are usually minor and short-lived.
Various lesions have been treated with liquid nitrogen. Because of the histologic differences in lesions, different freeze-thaw cycles are used to successfully destroy them. For most of these lesions, cryotherapy is not the only and often not the best modality for treatment. However, it does represent a valuable alternative for selected patients. For some lesions, such as actinic keratoses, warts, and seborrheic keratoses, cryotherapy is the standard first-line therapy. The time estimates given below must be adjusted depending on the skin temperature, local circulation, skin pigment, and method of delivery.
Cryotherapy is a safe and easy to use treatment to destroy many benign and malignant lesions.
The cryotherapy operator must be aware of the complications associated with this modality; for example, a complication is hypopigmentation (dark-skinned individuals are prone to hypopigmentation).
One needs to be aware of the fact that lesions may need to be treated multiple times before resolution.