Log in »

Cryotherapy for Skin Lesions

This information will help you care for yourself after cryotherapy.

Cryotherapy is a procedure that uses extreme cold to destroy tissue. It is often used to treat skin lesions. The lesions can be benign (not cancerous) or precancerous. It can also be used to treat skin cancer that does not affect deep tissue.

You do not have to do anything to prepare for cryotherapy. Before the procedure, your doctor or nurse will wipe away any visible substances on the area being treated. This includes makeup, lotion, or powder. Liquid nitrogen will then be sprayed on the area being treated to freeze it.

The treated area will heal in about 7 to 10 days with minimal scaring, but it will take longer for the redness to go away. The treated skin may be lighter than surrounding skin, depending upon the depth of freezing.

Caring for Yourself After Cryotherapy

  • The treated area will become red right after your procedure. It also may blister. If this happens, do not break open the blister.
  • Starting the day after your procedure, wash the treated area gently with mild soap and water daily.
  • Leave the treated area uncovered unless it has ulcers or drainage.
  • If you see any crusting, use an antibiotic ointment on the treated area. You can use bacitracin, Polysporin®, or Vaseline®.
  • Protect all treated areas from exposure to the sun.
  • Do not use perfumed soaps, cosmetics, or lotions on the treated lesions until they have healed. This will usually be at least 10 days after your procedure.

Call Your Doctor or Nurse if You Have:

  • Redness or swelling that extends to areas of untreated skin
  • Pain in the treated area
  • Skin in the treated area that is warm to the touch
  • A temperature of 100.5° F (38° C) or higher
  • Bleeding, oozing, or drainage from the treated area
  • Any questions or concerns
  • Any problems you did not expect