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What Can Cryosurgery Do For Skin Problems?

The use and benefits behind cryosurgery explained.

By Kath Wong | April 26th, 2021

It is undeniable that people would always look and opt-in for any non- or minimally invasive treatments available that are at the same time affordable and effective. The same goes for the treatment for skin problems as well as tumours, instead of having repetitive sessions of laser treatments or injections, an alternative treatment known as Cryosurgery is recommended in certain cases. 


The Cryosurgery

Cryosurgery is a minimally invasive yet effective treatment specially designed for skin problems that include abnormal tissues such as tumours, warts, sun spots, keloids, as well as cancers or precancerous lesions on the skin. The procedure utilizes extremely cold liquid nitrogen at a temperature of -196 degree celsius, which is also the boiling point of the liquid nitrogen. Once it comes in contact with the skin, the temperature of the skin immediately decreases and ice is formed within the skin layer, this results in cell death and the renewal of cells would be stimulated.

Although cryosurgery is not known as the first line of defence for curing cancer, it can be used in the case when other forms of treatment have proven unsuccessful, especially in situations where cancer recurs following other treatments. 

Moreover, the procedure is most often performed to treat cancers or precancerous lesions on the skin but it isn’t limited to them; cryosurgery is also used on some internal organs when disease and other problems make conventional surgery difficult or risky to operate, for instance, liver and prostate. The primary treatment for early prostate cancer that presents within the prostate is known to utilize cryosurgery as the cure. Also, it is performed when cancer returns after other therapies.

Benefits of Cryosurgery

The major benefits of cryosurgery include a short preparation time, low risk of infection, and minimal wound care. Prior to the treatment patients do not need any specific preparation, except for the ones who are undergoing the procedure for internal organs, at least 12 hours of fasting is required. After the treatment, for wound caring, you are only required to keep the treated area clean and dry.

Cryosurgery has a lower risk of infection and rarely leaves scars compared to incisional surgeries. However, some potential side effects include bleeding, forming of blisters, headache, hair loss, and hypopigmentation. For the possible complication of hypopigmentation and hair loss (alopecia), it can be avoided by limiting the freeze times to less than 30 seconds per site exposure.


Who May Not Be Able To Try Cryosurgery?

Contraindications to cryosurgery include:

  • Raynaud disease

  • Agammaglobulinemia

  • Hypofibrinogenemia

  • Cryoglobulinemia

  • Multiple myeloma. 

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