Cryosurgery/Liquid Nitrogen ("burning" or freezing") After Care

What is Cryosurgery?

Cryosurgery is a technique for removing skin lesions that primarily involve the surface of the
skin, such as warts, seborrheic keratosis, or actinic keratosis. It is a quick method of removing
the lesions with minimal or no scarring.

The liquid nitrogen needs to be applied long enough to freeze the affected skin. By freezing the
skin, a blister is created underneath the lesion. Ideally, as the new skin forms underneath the
blister, the abnormal skin on the roof of the blister peels off. Occasionally if the lesion is very
thick (such as a large wart), only the surface is blistered off. The base or residual lesion may
need to be frozen at another visit.

What to Expect New Few Weeks After Cryosurgery?

  • During Treatment – Area being treated will sting, burn, and then possibly itch.
  • Immediately After Treatment – Area will be red sore and swollen.
  • Next-Day- Blister or blood blister has formed, tenderness starts to subside. Apply a
    Band-Aid® if necessary.
  • 7 Days- The surface is dark red/brown and scab-like. Apply Vaseline® or an antibacterial
    ointment if necessary.
  • 2 to 4 Weeks- The surface starts to peel off. This may be encouraged gently during
    bathing when the scab is softened.
  • No makeup should be applied until the area is fully healed.

How to Take care of the Skin after Cryosurgery

  • A Band-Aid® can be used for larger blisters or blisters in areas that are more likely to be
    traumatized- such as fingers and toes. If the area becomes dry or crusted, an ointment such as Vaseline® or Aquaphor® can also be applied.
  • Cleans area with a mild cleanser such as CeraVe Foaming Cleanser®, Cetaphil Cleanser® or
    Dove Soap® and cool water.
  • Pat the area dry with a lint-free cloth and apply an ointment such as Vaseline® or Aquaphor®.
  • Avoid glycolic acids, vitamin C, scrubs, Tretinoin (Retin-A®), and Retinol creams for 7 – 10
    days.
  • You may bathe, swim, exercise, and otherwise follow all of
    your normal activities, unless otherwise indicated by your provider.
  • The area may get wet while bathing.
  • Avoid swimming or hot tub use for one week.
  • Within 24 hours, you can expect the area to be swollen and or blistered.
  • Within one week, the swelling goes down. The top becomes dark red and scab-like.

The scab will loosen over the next weeks and should fall off within two to three weeks in most cases.