Evidence Basedcheckmark

Cryosurgery

Cryosurgery uses intensive cold therapy with liquid nitrogen to freeze and destroy unwanted soft tissues.

Cryosurgery

The Skinny


Average Recovery

5 days

Permanence

Temporary

Application

Thermal Treatment

Surgical

No

Cost

$100 - $499

The Specifics


What is cryosurgery?

Cryosurgery, or cryoablation, is a non-surgical topical thermal treatment using extreme cold therapy to destroy unwanted tissues. Cryosurgery, like cryotherapy, uses liquid nitrogen to spot freeze tissues. Cryosurgery is highly effective in dermatology for removing most benign skin lesions, especially in patients with lighter skin looking to remove lesions on non hair bearing areas of the body.

Actinic keratoses, molluscum contagiosum, skin tags, and numerous other skin conditions respond well to liquid nitrogen cryosurgery. Cryosurgery is also a first line technique for some cancer treatments including skin cancer and prostate cancer.

What cosmetic concerns does a cryosurgery procedure treat?

  1. Birthmarks, Moles, & Skin Growths: Freezing tissue with extreme cold temperatures destroys cells, and allows the body to break down and eliminate them.

Who is the ideal candidate for a cryosurgery procedure?

The ideal candidate for a cryosurgery procedure has a benign skin lesion they are seeking to remove for cosmetic reasons. Cryosurgery is not recommended for those with cold related pathologies, those with darker skin tones, those with lesions in poorly vascularized areas, or those whose lesions have not yet been assessed by a dermatologist.

What is the average recovery associated with a cryosurgery procedure?

The recovery time following a cryosurgery procedure is generally a few days. Most patients resume all normal activities after treatment, taking care to keep the treated area clean and dry. Regular bandage changes may be necessary as skin heals.

What are the potential side effects of a cryosurgery procedure?

Potential side effects following a cryosurgery procedure include bleeding, blister formation, blood vessel damage, swelling, headache, pain, tissue granulation, infection, hair loss, hypopigmentation, and atrophy of tissue.

What can someone expect from the results of a cryosurgery procedure?

The results of cryosurgery are immediately noticeable after the treatment. Patients should limit sun exposure and use sunscreen during the healing period to aid results.

What is the average cost of a cryosurgery procedure?

A cryosurgery procedure can cost anywhere from $100 to $500. The actual cost of a cryosurgery is dependent upon location, plastic surgeon, and length and involvement of the cosmetic procedure.

Pros

InexpensiveSimple procedureLow risk of side effects

Cons

Possibility of pigment changesMultiple treatments may be needed

Invasiveness Score

mildmoderatesevere
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10

Invasiveness is graded based on factors such as anesthesia practices, incisions, and recovery notes common to this procedure.

What to Expect


Cryosurgery is a non-surgical skin lesion removal procedure. Here is a quick guide for what to expect before, during, and after a cryosurgery procedure:

The Takeaway


Cryosurgery is a simple and effective treatment option for removing numerous skin lesions with liquid nitrogen cryoablation techniques. This treatment modality can be done as a quick outpatient procedure.

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Source List

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AEDIT uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.

  1. Leelawadee Techasatian Neonatal Birthmarks: A Prospective Survey in 1000 Neonates PubMed.gov; 2019-03-29
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