Gone are the days when you had to live your entire life with those unwanted scars and lesions. Today, with modern cosmetic procedures and medically approved products, it is easy to get rid of skin lesions.
Cryotherapy is a modern skin care treatment that is used to treat various skin conditions, and once you are done with your session, you will feel an improved skin texture. We have noted all the details to help you know more about liquid nitrogen treatment, a.k.a. Cryotherapy, its procedure, and post-treatment care.
What is Cryotherapy?
Cryotherapy destroys abnormal skin tissues by freezing the skin with the help of a cold substance such as liquid nitrogen. Being a minimally invasive skin treatment, it does not require any open surgery and usually comes with minimum downtime. Cryotherapy is recommended for those who have developed abnormal skin tissues due to underlying skin conditions and certain diseases.
During the treatment, the healthcare provider applies liquid nitrogen to the damaged or diseased tissue, freeing skin lesions and surrounding tissues. The cells cannot withstand extreme cold and die instantly. The treated area will become red, and a blister may develop, which will be flattened in 1 to 2 days.
Not only is liquid nitrogen used to destroy abnormal skin cells, but argon gas and liquid nitrous oxide can also be used effectively as alternatives.
Methods of Cryotherapies
How your healthcare provider uses Cryotherapy depends upon the location of the damaged or abnormal skin tissues. There are different methods of Cryotherapy to freeze the skin tissues, such as
If the damaged tissue is located inside the skin, it may produce pre-cancerous cells and tumors. To combat this abnormality, the practitioner will use Cryoprobe, which is inserted into the skin through tiny incisions. Once the abnormal skin tissues are dead inside the skin, your immune system will clean the tissue out of your body naturally.
When the abnormal tissue resides on the skin’s surface, the healthcare practitioner will use a swab or cotton to apply the substance to freeze the skin. Once the tissue dies, it can be peeled off easily to promote the growth of new and healthy skin cells.
Each type of Cryotherapy works similarly to how an ice pack does when placed on the injured areas to relieve the pain. Be it external or internal, Cryotherapy produces lesser pain with no to minimum bleeding.
Forms of Cryotherapy
Cryotherapy comes in many forms, including:
Whole Body Cryotherapy
To treat the entire body with Cryotherapy, the person must stand still in a cold chamber with a temperature ranging between minus 200 and minus 300. The body is exposed to this freezing temperature for three to four minutes.
This technique requires you to put your head and neck into the water at a temperature lesser than 15 degrees centigrade. The process is usually practiced by athletes to recover from strain or to relax the body after an intense workout.
The traditional use of ice packs and ice massage to help the injured body recover and reduce inflammation promotes the purpose of Cryotherapy.
The minimally invasive surgical process that is used to treat certain cancers, such as cervical and liver cancer, and skin conditions, such as warts and skin tags.
Benefits of Cryotherapy
- Cryotherapy effectively reduces unwanted skin cell growth, such as skin tags and warts.
- It can be used to treat cancer of the retina in children.
- The precancerous cell growth can be destroyed using Cryotherapy.
- Cryotherapy has been reported to be effective in treating liver cancer, bone cancer, and cervical cancer.
- The therapy reduces skin inflammation and fights chronic skin issues.
- The treatment is highly effective for atopic dermatitis.
Care of The skin after Cryotherapy
After treating your skin with liquid nitrogen, taking care of the treated area is important, as any carelessness may lead to skin damage. Although no extreme pain is reported following the treatment, if you feel any mild pain in the treated area, it will go after 2 to 3 days. The scab that is formed after the liquid nitrogen treatment will be healed within one to two weeks. The females who go through Cryotherapy may witness watery discharge for a few days post-treatment
There are a few things to take care of once you are done with your Cryotherapy session.
- Wash your face with water and fragrance-free soap.
- Apply Vaseline, Aquaphor, or Polysporin on the treated area. It will moisturize the skin and prevent any crusting on the treated site.
- It is recommended to put a bandage on the treated spot.
- In case of bleeding, put a clean gauze pad on the area for 15 minutes.
- Avoid putting on makeup after the treatment till the skin is completely healed, as the chemicals may cause your skin to react.
- Avoid using scented products and soaps on the treated skin area.
- Once the skin is healed, apply sunscreen with SPF above 30 that also covers UVA and UVB.
- In case of blistering, you may pop it with a clean needle.
- If the paining sensation is too uncomfortable on the treated site, you may take pain relievers such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen.
- Do not expose the treated skin to the sun till the scar is completely healed.
- Call your doctor if the treated area starts discharging yellow or green substances.
The liquid nitrogen treatment has a lot of skin benefits. You may give rest to your regular work routine for 2 to 3 days and give your skin to heal. You may be required to follow another Cryotherapy session if results are not visible. You may have discoloration at the treated skin site, which will vanish gradually.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
- What is Cryoprobe?
Cryoprobe is the instrument that is used in Cryotherapy. This chilled instrument is used to freeze the tissues during the procedure of Cryotherapy.
- How much does a session of Cryotherapy cost on average?
On average, a session of Cryotherapy may cost between $60 to $100. It may vary depending upon the various other things such as the qualification and experience of the doctor, the area that needs to be treated, etc.
- What is the difference between Cryotherapy and cold-water immersion?
Although cold water immersion and Cryotherapy are effective in soothing the skin, they are slightly different in their techniques. The cold-water immersion involves cold showers, ice packs, and even cold-pool plunges, while Cryotherapy does not use water and uses a cold substance to freeze the skin.
- Is the liquid nitrogen treatment painful?
The liquid nitrogen treatment can be slightly discomforting. It is not too painful and does not result in bleeding.
- How does the skin look after Cryotherapy?
When liquid nitrogen is applied to the skin, the treated area may become slightly red or swollen. A blister may be formed and which can be peeled off later. The new skin starts forming soon after the blister is removed.
- Does the liquid nitrogen treatment always work?
The liquid nitrogen treatment usually works on every type of skin. However, you may require more treatment sessions for thicker warts or skin lesions to get effective results.
- Is there any complication related to Cryotherapy?
Cryotherapy is generally not a painful or risky procedure. Some potential complications may be related to the procedure, including cramping or painful sensation surrounding the cervix, bone fractures, skin infection, and temporary loss of feeling due to extreme freezing sensation.
- What is Actinic Keratosis?
Actinic keratoses are the dry patches on the skin that are caused due to sun damage. These scaly patches have minor chances of becoming cancerous if the skin is exposed to further damage.
- Can I apply Neosporin on the skin after the liquid nitrogen treatment?
Neosporin may cause allergic reactions on the skin, so it is not recommended to put it on the skin post-treatment.
- What kind of sunscreen should I invest in after treating my skin with Cryotherapy?
Always look for a broad-spectrum sunscreen with any of these ingredients, such as Zinc Oxide, Parsol, or titanium oxide in its composition. The sunscreen you choose to put on your skin after the treatment should have UVA and UVB with SPF 30 or above.
- Which substances are used in the treatment of Cryotherapy?
The freezing substance used in the Cryotherapy procedure can be liquid nitrogen, argon gas, or liquid nitrous oxide.