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Are You a Candidate for Cryotherapy?

You know that annoying little skin lesion that’s been bothering you for a while? We might be able to remove it with just one simple tool: cold.

Okay, it’s extreme cold — liquid nitrogen, to be precise — so we have to be careful, but cryotherapy is an extremely effective option for removing skin lesions and restoring smooth skin with minimal scarring.

At Sulkowski Family Medicine in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, we like to stay up to date on all treatments to better serve you. Here’s how cryotherapy works in our office.

What is cryotherapy?

Cryotherapy uses extreme cold in the form of liquid nitrogen (minus 328 F) to destroy tissue. While it can be used for various purposes, it’s commonly used to remove various types of skin lesions.

Cryotherapy is such an effective procedure because there’s no cutting involved. To apply the liquid nitrogen to the lesion, we spray the area or apply it with a cotton swab. Either method is quick, and leaves your skin smooth while minimizing any scarring that might normally occur if the lesion were cut off with a knife.

Most skin lesions fall into one of two categories: benign (not cancerous) or actinic keratosis. These are precancerous cells that look like scaly patches on your skin and can turn into cancer if not treated correctly. Cryotherapy is effective on both types of lesions.

What should I expect?

If we treat you with cryotherapy, you don’t have to take any special precautions. The procedure usually lasts less than a minute, and the treated area may become red. Blisters caused by the extreme cold of the nitrogen may form, but this is a normal part of the healing process, so you don’t need to worry. You shouldn’t break open the blister.

You may also see some clear drainage, which is normal. Your skin should be completely healed in 7-10 days, with a smooth, clean appearance, especially if you care for it correctly. That involves washing the treated area with soap and water daily and applying Vaseline® or Aquaphor® to help the area heal and keep it from crusting over. Leave the area uncovered unless it starts bleeding, in which case you should use a bandage. 

One last tip: When you’re outside, don’t forget to use sunscreen on the area where the lesion was. This also helps prevent scarring.

If you’re ready to remove any skin lesions, you may be a great candidate for cryotherapy. Contact Sulkowski Family Medicine by calling our office in Murfreesboro or booking your own appointment with our convenient online scheduler.

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