What is the cryotherapy?
Cryotherapy is an outpatient method which is based on the use of the cold which is able to freeze the tissues and destroy them. (Liquid nitrogen is mainly used, which is delivered using special equipment and it able to reach temperatures -55°C). Cryogenic gases are not damaging for the organism, nor for the environment, in the form and use in question, and the freezing of tissues is a useful method for the treatment of many skin lesions.
Main uses of the cryotherapy
Nowadays, cryotherapy is used for the treatment of some superficial skin lesions, like:
- Molluscum contagiosum
Cryotherapy has practically no contraindications other than for those people who are affected by cryoglobulinemia or by other conditions in which there is an altered sensitivity to the cold.
No preparation is needed for the treatment. Once the skin in the area to be treated has been disinfected, we move on to applying the cryogenic probe to the skin. The gas which is delivered at a temperature of -55°C causes the progressive fall in the temperature in the contact area until it reaches freezing point. When the temperature of the tissue falls below freezing point the cells die. The treatment is not painful, if only in the moment when the tissue gets to the freezing stage and a slight sharp pain is felt, but which stops immediately after the freezing has caused the death of the cells. A further two or more freezing cycles may be necessary to complete the treatment, each of which only takes a few seconds. So the whole procedure is extremely rapid. At the end of the treatment an antibiotic medication will be applied to the area treated, which must be kept in place for 24 hours.
Effects of cryotherapy
According to the type and extension of the lesion to be treated, it may be necessary to repeat the treatment after some time. The area treated will be subject to local inflammation, with reddening, swelling and sometimes some slight pain. The inflammation will dissipate spontaneously after 24-36 hours, and, in the following days, a blister may form, followed by a scab, which must be left to fall off spontaneously. The scab will fall of on its own after a period of 7-15 days, with the complete healing of the tissues. When the scab falls off the skin in the area treated will look red and feel tender but without the original lesions and it needs to be protected with a moisturizing cream with a full sun block. It is necessary to avoid exposing oneself to the sun and UV rays for about 6 weeks after the treatment, and after that to expose oneself only with a sun-screen. Progressively the skin will regain its own natural colouring. After 20-25 days the result of the treatment will be appraised and a further treatment can be carried out if the result is only partial.