Cryotherapy is a common treatment for skin lesions. The idea is to freeze the abnormal lesion and a small amount of surrounding normal skin. Our GP’s use liquid nitrogen. This drops the temperature of skin quickly to way below freezing point. The nitrogen is applied through a “gun” that sprays the liquid onto the skin.
It is very commonly used to treat sun spots. These are premalignant skin lesions caused by sun exposure. The damage occurs only on the surface layer of the skin called the epidermis.
After cryotherapy, blistering and redness often occur. The site can look quite ugly for a week or more. The area can look like it had been burnt. Don’t worry. This invariably resolves. In time, new fresh skin cells grow out and regenerate the area that was treated. Cryotherapy is also sometimes used for lesions unrelated to sun damage, such as warts or seborrhoeic keratoses (senile warts).