Treatment Focus: Cryosurgery

Steven Cohen

November 17th, 2014

To keep you up to speed on treatment options for acne scar patients, we frequently publish “Treatment Focus” blog posts. Recently, we’ve covered a couple of different laser options (ablative and non-ablative), and today, I’m going to detail a cryosurgery, a treatment option that is ideal for raised scars.
Cryosurgery is a well-established treatment option that has been around for years, and is used commonly to freeze off warts or small clusters of abnormal or cancerous skin cells using liquid nitrogen.

Similar to the way cryosurgery is used to remove warts or skin cancer, it can help to diminish the appearance of excess skin above the face’s surface. For best results, physicians generally recommend a series of cryotherapy sessions paired with corticosteroid injections, which are used to reduce inflammation at the site of treatment and tend to produce better results. When used to treat acne scars, cryosurgery is generally recommended for patients with lighter skin, because it can cause permanent light spots to form on the treated skin.

Cryosurgery device includes: a cotton-tip applicator (left); Liquid nitrogen spray (center); and cryoprobe (right).

Most patients can go home the same day after your doctor gives you direction for caring for the spots where the treatment was performed. Usually, post-treatment care involves keeping the area free of contaminants and changing the bandages to avoid infection. The amount of time before patients start to see results really varies depending on the severity of scarring, and follow up sessions are frequently recommended.

As with many other treatment options, cryosurgery comes with its own set of potential side effects, these include:

  • Blisters
  • Damage to nearby healthy tissue
  • Infection
  • Loss of sensation if nerves are affected
  • Pain
  • Scarring
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Ulcers
  • White skin where applied

To learn more about cryosurgery, consult with a physician to determine the best treatment approach for your unique case.

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