Dr Downey; Dermatologist


Cryosurgery is the treatment of skin lesions by freezing usually with liquid nitrogen. During treatment a smarting sensation is apparent and may continue for 5-45 minutes. At this stage the treated area becomes raised, swollen and possibly itchy, like an insect bite. Sometimes blisters and occasionally blood blisters will form in the treated areas, causing swelling of the surrounding skin. Blisters are best left intact unless very large.

Over the following days some blisters are reabsorbed leaving dark crusts and some burst spontaneously. Either way, cover them with a band aid dressing and bathe or shower normally. (Remember a covered wound heals faster than an open one). Sometimes very extensively treated lesions may weep fluid for 4-6 weeks, which is part of the healing stage. Spots that don't blister usually form darkened crusts that flake off in 1-3 weeks, depending on the body site. These changes are normal following cryosurgery. Crusts on the face flake off in 5-10 days, whilst those on the legs may take 14-21 days. Please don't interfere with the crusts. Sometimes pale areas may persist for some months if extensive cryosurgery is required.