What is Cryotherapy?
Got a strange spot on your body and want to zap it quickly? Cryotherapy is a quick, easy, pain-free and safe way to go! The word cryotherapy is made up of ‘cryo’ meaning cold and ‘therapy’ meaning cure, which derives from Ancient Greek. Cryotherapy is a non-surgical and non-invasive treatment for a number of benign (non-cancerous) and cancerous skin conditions. In this article we’ll shed some light on cryotherapy treatment and why it’s an ingenious and hassle-free way to deal with skin growths.
Separating out fact from fiction
Some people unfamiliar with the term cryotherapy may confuse the term with cryonics. The latter term is the practice of freezing a body after death in the hope of bringing it back to life in the future. Most scientists still consider cryonics to be in the realm of science-fiction. Although if you are a Sci-Fi fan, you could let your imagination get carried away with you.
Cryonics and cryotherapy use a similar technology, which harnesses freezing temperatures (called cryogenics) for medical interventions, but that’s where the similarity ends.
Cryotherapy for the skin: In a nutshell
Extremely cold liquid nitrogen is used to destroy a targeted area of skin tissue. This is used to treat skin growths which may either be benign (non-cancerous), pre-cancerous (for example actinic keratosis) or superficial skin cancers such as Superficial Squamous Cell Carcinomas (SCCi) or Superficial Basal Cell Carcinoma, (BCC).
The treatment is relatively fast and requires no pre-procedure preparation except for the removal of jewellery, make-up and body lotions from the skin area. During the treatment you may experience some numbness and then a minor amount of pain in the localised area, and sometimes swelling.
The benefits of cryotherapy
The Claris Group Skin Centre offers cryotherapy as a non-surgical treatment. It’s incredibly flexible and has a lot of benefits, such as:
- Minimal preparation before the procedure.
- Minimal disruption to your day. Come in and have the treatment and then get on with your day afterwards.
- Minimal pain during the procedure and afterwards.
- Minimal scarring, but you will be advised to wear sunscreen afterwards. But that’s true for everyone, every day!
- The cost for treatment is relatively inexpensive compared to other treatments.
What the treatment involves
Cryotherapy involves using liquid nitrogen at –196°C with either a cryospray, cryoprobe or cotton tipped applicator. The nitrogen is applied to the localised area for a few seconds, and may be repeated once the thawing of the area is completed.
Afterwards you can expect to see blisters in the area which are either clear, red or purple. This is nothing to worry about and is completely normal. After a few days the swelling should die down. The blister will dry up and forms a scab which eventually falls off; this process can take up to 3 weeks.
At Claris Group, our cryotherapy skin specialist is able to provide full assessment of your skin growth. Topical creams are prescribed as part of your consultation and are not charged in addition to the cryotherapy treatment. The nurse or doctor will explain more detailed information about cryotherapy and what to expect prior to your treatment.