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Myths and Facts About Cryotherapy

You’ve probably heard of cryotherapy, which is the local or general use of low temperatures to treat medical conditions. Different applications of cryotherapy have been growing in popularity. 

Whole body cryotherapy, which is said to provide better recovery by exposing patients to extremely cold air (as low as -110 °C) for four minutes, has seen an exponential rise in news coverage. Things reached a fever pitch in August when Oakland Raiders receiver Antonio Brown suffered frostbite after wearing improper footwear during a treatment.

While whole body cryotherapy is all the rage, doctors have been using different applications of cryotherapy for decades. Cryotherapy is especially effective for treating and eliminating skin lesions, which include moles, warts, skin tags, and other abnormal growths of the skin. 

Extreme cold helps remove the unwanted lesions quickly and with little to no pain. Best of all, you’ll be left with smooth, healthy skin. While you may know the term, you’ve probably heard some myths about cryotherapy. Use this blog as a guide to some of the most frequent misconceptions about this therapy.

Ready to see if cryotherapy can help you get rid of annoying or potentially dangerous skin lesions? Come see us at Sulkowski Family Medicine. Thomas Sulkowski, MD and the rest of our team will work with you to determine if cryotherapy is the right treatment plan for your skin lesions. Dr. Sulkowski will make sure you receive excellent care that treats your lesions and keeps you healthy for years to come.

Skin lesion basics

A lesion is an umbrella term to describe any kind of growth or mark on your skin. Skin lesions come in many types and forms, including:

The vast majority of skin lesions are benign. If you’re worried about a skin lesion being cancerous, let Dr. Sulkowski know. If he cannot determine if a lesion is cancerous, the tissue can be biopsied after removal to determine if it was dangerous.

Myth: cryotherapy is painfully cold

When done by a qualified doctor, like Dr. Sulkowski, cryotherapy is almost totally painless. Cryotherapy is performed two ways: by spraying the lesion with liquid nitrogen or using a cotton swab that has been dipped into liquid nitrogen. If you have a low pain tolerance or sensitive skin, you may ask to have the treatment area numbed with a topical ointment before the liquid nitrogen is applied.

Myth: there are quicker and more effective treatment methods

This couldn’t be further from the truth. When it comes to actual treatment time, nothing beats cryotherapy. The entire procedure usually takes under a minute. Your body does the rest of the work after the liquid nitrogen burns off the unwanted skin.

Myth: recovery can take a while

The treated area typically becomes red and may blister or swell. This is to be expected, as it’s a normal part of the healing process. You shouldn’t break open the blister. If the blister breaks open on its own, you may notice some clear drainage, which is also normal. 

The entire healing process takes seven to ten days. Once everything is healed, you should notice smooth skin where the lesions were previously located.

Myth: cryotherapy can’t work with cancerous lesions

Cryotherapy does not discriminate. New York’s Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center has found that cryotherapy is effective at treating the following types of lesions:

Cryotherapy has also been shown to excel at treating just the targeted skin. It can save the area around the lesion and reduce scarring as much as possible.

Cryotherapy could help you say goodbye to unsightly or dangerous skin lesions. Dr. Sulkowski will use his expertise to make sure you receive the best treatment and results possible. Call or book an appointment at our Murfreesboro office today. 

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