Cryotherapy for the Treatment of Common Skin Conditions

Cryotherapy for the Treatment of Common Skin Conditions

Cryosurgery is a highly successful treatment for a wide variety of skin conditions that are not life-threatening. Family physicians can quickly become proficient in the method if they have the required training and have the opportunity to practise under supervision. Cryosurgery is most effective as a method of therapy for patients who have light skin and for the treatment of lesions in most parts of the body that do not bear hair. There are a few different ways to spray, such as the paintbrush approach, the timed spot cryo technique, and the rotary or spiral pattern. Actinic keratosis, solar lentigo, rosacea keratosis, viral wart, caused by infection contagiosum, and dermatofibroma are examples of benign skin lesions that are amenable to freezing.

Cryosurgery is a quick procedure that may easily be included into the busy schedule of a physician’s clinic. This therapy has a number of benefits, including a brief period of preparation, a reduced likelihood of infection, and less post-treatment wound care. Cryosurgery is advantageous in that it does not involve the use of expensive materials or injectable anaesthetic, and the patient does not need to come back for the removal of sutures. Bleeding, blister development, headaches, hair loss, hypopigmentation, and scarring are extremely uncommon but might be potential adverse effects of this medication. Lesions on the skin are typically able to be cured in a single session, however certain types may require many treatments.

Since about one hundred years ago, cryosurgery has been utilised for the treatment of skin lesions. The first cryogens to be created were liquid air and compressed carbon dioxide snow. In the 1940s, liquid nitrogen became commercially available, and it is today the type of cryogen that is employed the most frequently.

Cryosurgery has been used to treat skin lesions for the past fifty years, during which time a significant amount of experience has been gained in its application. The application of liquid nitrogen using a cotton-tipped dipstick has become a common practise in the supervisors of common. However, this technology is being phased out in favour of spray systems that utilise liquid nitrogen. Liquid nitrogen spray apparatus is straightforward to operate, and comparable procedures can be applied to control benign, premalignant, and malignant lesions.

The Workings of the Mechanism

 The most efficient cryogen for therapeutic applications is liquid nitrogen, which has a boiling point of -196 degrees Celsius (-320.8 degrees Fahrenheit). The treatment of cancerous tumours is an area in which it is most effective. If a significant volume of liquid nitrogen is administered, either by spray or probe, temperatures in the range of 25 degrees Celsius to 50 degrees Celsius (13 degrees Fahrenheit to 58 degrees Fahrenheit) can be attained in as little as thirty seconds. In general, temperatures between 20 and 30 degrees Celsius (4 and 22 degrees Fahrenheit) are required for the elimination of benign lesions. Temperatures between -40 degrees Celsius (-40 degrees Fahrenheit) and -50 degrees Celsius are often required for the successful eradication of cancerous tissue. Cryopen Northampton

Because of the creation of intracellular ice, the treated tissue sustains damage that is irreparable. The rate of cooling and the lowest temperature that was reached both have a role in determining the extent of the damage. The first twenty-four hours following therapy are marked by the development of inflammation, which plays an additional role in the lesion’s elimination via immunologically mediated processes.

When compared to a single freeze and thaw cycle, several rounds of slow thawing and repeated freeze-thaw cycles cause greater damage to the tissues. In most cases, there is a waiting period of several minutes between successive freezing and thawing cycles. In most cases, the treatment of cancer is the only indication for employing repeated freezing and thawing cycles.

It is possible to cause scarring and disruption of the collagen matrix of the skin by continuously freezing in one region for more than 30 seconds once an appropriate freeze ball has been created around the targeted area.

The separation of the dermoepidermal layers that results from gentle freezing can be beneficial in the treatment of benign epidermal lesions. The more delicate cells in the epidermis are eliminated, while the cells in the dermis are not affected in any way. However, research and clinical experience indicate that repigmentation often occurs over the course of several months as a result of undamaged melanocytes within hair follicles or the migration of melanocytes from the edge of the frozen zone. However, the predictability of repigmentation in individual patients is uncertain.

Different Approaches to Therapy

The size, type of tissue, and depth of the lesion all play a role in determining the appropriate dose of liquid nitrogen as well as the manner of administration. In addition to this, it is important to take into account the region of the body that contains the lesion as well as the needed depth of freezing. Additional aspects of the patient that should be taken into account include the depth of the epidermis and the structures that lie beneath it, as well as the amount of water that the skin contains and the circulation in that area.

The timed spot freeze or direct spray approach, the rotary or spiral pattern, the paintbrush method, and others are all examples of liquid nitrogen spray methods that may be used for lesions of varying sizes.


A greater degree of consistency in the administration of liquid nitrogen is made possible by the timed spot freeze approach. It is possible that this approach will prove to be the most beneficial for medical professionals who are studying cryosurgery. Utilization of this method enhances the potential to eradicate a lesion while minimising the risk of morbidity. The length of time that the tissue is frozen for is modified based on criteria such as the thickness of the skin, the vascularity of the tissue, the kind of tissue, and the features of the lesion.

A little spray cannon that generally contains between 300 and 500 mL of liquid nitrogen is used for the timed spot freezing technique. The smallest aperture is represented by the letter F in the range of nozzle diameters that go from A to F. The treatment of the vast majority of benign and malignant lesions may be accomplished with nozzles of sizes B and C; these apertures are the ones that are most commonly mentioned in case reports.

The nozzle of the spray cannon is held one to one and a half centimetres away from the surface of the skin and directed toward the centre of the target lesion while performing the traditional spot freeze procedure. The trigger of the spray pistol is squeezed, and liquid nitrogen is shot until an ice field or ice ball contains both the lesion and the margin that was wanted. Because freezing might cause pretreatment lesion borders to become unclear, it is possible that the intended ice field will need to be outlined in advance with a skin marker pen.

The thickness of the lesion and whether the lesion is benign or malignant are the two primary factors that determine the size of the margin. It is possible for the margins of benign lesions to extend only one to two millimetres beyond than the obvious pathologic line. In order to assure sufficient removal, premalignant lesions require margins of 2 to 3 mm of clinically normal skin, whereas malignant lesions require margins of 5 mm of clinically normal skin. These margin widths provide for sufficient depth of freeze to achieve temperatures of 50°C to a depth of between 4 and 5 millimetres.

Once the ice field has filled the prescribed margin, the spray needs to be maintained, with the spray canister trigger pressure and, as a result, the liquid nitrogen spray flow regulated to ensure that the target field remains frozen for the appropriate amount of time. It’s possible that this period will be anything from five to thirty seconds longer than the initial time for the development of the ice field. If the destruction of the lesion requires more than one cycle of freezing and thawing, the lesion should be allowed to defrost completely before proceeding to the next cycle (usually two to three minutes).

When applied to an ice field up to 2 centimetres in diameter, the timed spot freeze technique can produce temperatures that are sufficient for the destruction of tissue. Utilizing treatment areas that overlap is the strategy that works best for lesions that are larger than 2 centimetres (with an acceptable margin). A further in-depth analysis of this strategy is not going to be provided in the scope of this essay.


The open spray approach can be utilised for lesions that are the easiest to reach; however, a cryoprobe that is linked to the liquid nitrogen spray cannon can give further adaptability, depending on the location of the lesion and the kind of lesion that is being treated. There is a wide range of cryoprobes available, both in terms of size and kind. The cryoprobe is inserted into the lesions in a direct manner. The probe and the surface of the skin are frequently separated by an interface medium consisting of gel.

Cryoprobes are widely utilised in the treatment of minor face lesions (such as those located on the eyelids), particularly in situations when the scattering of liquid nitrogen is not desired. In the therapy of vascular lesions, probes are also beneficial because the pressure of the probe may be utilised to drain blood from the tissues, so allowing for more effective treatment. This makes the probes more effective.

The Treatment of Cutaneous Lesions That Are Not Malignant

The vast majority of benign skin lesions are amenable to therapy with any one of a number of different treatment techniques (excision, cryosurgery, electrodesiccation curettage). On the other hand, factors such as cosmesis, cost, and convenience for the patient may make one treatment approach preferable to another. Patients should be educated about all possible courses of therapy and should be given the opportunity to pick from among the several viable possibilities.

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