What is cryotherapy?
Cryotherapy, or cryosurgery, is the use of liquid nitrogen (extreme cold) to treat abnormal skin tissue. This therapy is used to treat basal cell carcinoma, actinic keratosis, moles, warts and molluscum contagiosum. For external tumors, liquid nitrogen is applied directly to the cancer cells with a cotton swab or spraying device. For internal tumors, liquid nitrogen or argon gas is circulated through a cryoprobe (a hollow instrument), which comes into contact with the tumor. We use an MRI to guide the cryoprobe and monitor the freezing process, thus limiting the damage to nearby, healthy tissue.
During the procedure, a ball of ice crystals forms around the cryoprobe, freezing the nearby cells. In some cases, more than one probe may be used to deliver liquid nitrogen to various parts of the tumor. The probes may be put through the skin (percutaneously) or into the tumor during surgery. After the surgery, the frozen tissue thaws and either dissolves and forms a scab (external tumors) or is naturally absorbed by the body (internal tumors).
What are the advantages of cryotherapy?
Cryotherapy is less invasive than surgery, and involves only a small incision or the insertion of the cryoprobe through the skin. Bleeding, pain and other complications are also minimized, compared to surgery. Cryotherapy isn’t as expensive as other treatments and the recovery time is shorter. You will either have a short hospital stay or no hospital stay at all. In some cases, the procedure can be performed using only local anesthesia. Because cryosurgery focuses on a limited area, it avoids damage and destruction to healthy tissue nearby. If your cancer is considered inoperable or does not respond to standard treatments, cryotherapy is a good alternative. This is also true of patients who are not good candidates for conventional surgery, due to their age or other medical conditions. It can be safely repeated and can also be used alongside radiation, chemotherapy, hormone therapy and surgery.
Schedule a consultation in Seacoast, NH or North Shore, MA
Whether you want to schedule a skin check or you’d like to discuss cryosurgery treatments, Dermatology & Skin Health can help. We have two office locations in New England: Dover, New Hampshire and Peabody, Massachusetts. From these locations, we can assess your skin conditions & concerns and provide the proper treatment. We provide cryotherapy to our patients as a treatment for basal cell carcinoma, actinic keratosis, moles, warts and molluscum contagiosum. To set up a consultation, please fill out our consultation request form or call us at (603) 742-5556 (Dover) or (978) 531-7677 (Peabody).
*Individual results may vary; not a guarantee.