Post-Procedure Care : Liquid Nitrogen(Cryotherapy) BWM Version
The following is information for patients who had treatment for Actinic Keratosis (pre-cancerous rough spots), Seborrheic Keratoses (benign rough spots), or Skin Tags. If you have questions about Cryotherapy or would like to talk to a dermatologist about medical dermatology, please contact our office to set up a consultation with our doctors.
What to Expect After Liquid Nitrogen (Cryotherapy)
The site(s) treated with liquid nitrogen will become red after the procedure and may develop a scab or blister after treatment.
This is normal DO NOT pick at the blister or scab or remove the top of the blister.
How To Clean The Treatment Area After Cryotherapy
It is ok to bathe normally after your treatment. Gently clean the area in the shower or bath with warm water and mild soap, then pat dry. Apply Vaseline or Aquaphor to the area 1-2x daily. You do not have to keep the area covered with a Band-Aid, but certainly can if you prefer.
Treatment for Skin Tags
If you were told you have a seborrheic keratoses or skin tag, these lesions are benign are only treated only if they were symptomatic or for cosmetic purposes. Complete clearance of these spots is not medically necessary, however, if the spot does not fully resolve you may come back for further treatment.
Treatment for Actinic Keratosis
If you were told you have an actinic keratosis, you need to watch the area to ensure it has completely resolved over the next 2-4 weeks. If it does not resolve (i.e. you still feel pain, soreness, or it is still rough), please call our office and schedule a follow up appointment for additional treatment. If left untreated, these lesions may to transition into skin cancer. Due to the increased risk of skin cancer when you have had actinic keratoses, a skin check is recommended every 6 to 12 months (or more often if recommended by your provider).
To reduce the risk of scar formation or discoloration, please practice good sun avoidance and use sunscreen.
Call the office if you have bleeding at the treated site that does not stop with firm pressure for 15 minutes or if you are concerned about infection.
Schedule A Medical Dermatology Consultation in Wellesley
If you have questions about medical dermatology treatments and procedures or would like to discuss a specific concern with a physician, please contact our office to set up an appointment. Our tea would be happy to help!
Cryotherapy Frequently Asked Questions
Cryotherapy is a medical procedure that involves short-term exposure to extreme cold. This can be done to remove skin tags or actinic keratosis.
Cryotherapy is used to treat skin lesions that include growths or patches that do not appear like the skin around them. This is often done to treat benign (non cancerous) skin lesions and actinic keratosis (precancerous patches of skin that could turn into cancer in the future). It is also used to treat superficial skin cancer (skin cancer that is only on the surface of your skin).
Cryotherapy is often chosen because reduces the risk of scarring. This procedure is very quick and presents little risks.
Patients do not really need to worry about preparing for their cryotherapy treatment. However, any makeup or topical lotion near the treatment area may need to be removed prior to the treatment.
After your procedure you can expect the following reactions:
- The treatment area will be red and can blister or swell. If you have blisters, do not break them or open them.
- You may see a clear discharge or drainage from the treatment area. This is a normal reaction.
- The healing process can take 1-2 weeks and usually doesn’t leave a scar.
During the healing process you should avoid using makeup or lotion in the treatment area until it has fully healed. It is recommended that you put Vaseline or Aquaphor on the treatment area once or twice a day for the two weeks after the procedure.
After your skin has healed make sure to use sunscreen with SPF of at least 30 when spending extended periods of time outdoors.
If you experience any bleeding, press firmly on the area with gauze until the bleeding stops. If the bleeding doesn’t stop, call your doctor’s office.
If you experience any of the following symptoms shortly after your cryotherapy treatment, please call your doctor:
- A fever over 100 degrees Fahreinheit (38 C).
- Redness/swelling extends beyond the treatment area
- An increase in discomfort or pain in the treated area
- Skin in the treatment area is hot or hard to the touch
- A yellow/green discharge from the treatment area
- Bleeding that won’t stop even after applying pressure