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What is cryosurgery? 

Cryosurgery is the destruction of skin using cold. The main agent used in medical treatment is liquid nitrogen. This emerges from a cryospray at -1970 C. Liquid nitrogen applied with a cotton bud is much less cold and less destructive. An alternative is dimethyl ether/propane aerosol (Histofreezer). This achieves a skin temperature of between zero and - 500 C. In our service we only use liquid nitrogen, dimethyl ether or similar can be purchsed at the chemist. Wartner is an example of such a product.

What is the clinic?

Cryosurgery is in a nurse led clinic held on Tuesday afternoons from 2pm until 4pm.

How are you referred to the clinic?

All patients are first seen by a clinician in the department and will receive their first treatment and are then referred to the Cryosurgery nurse led clinic.

What happens at the clinic?

At first visit:

  1. A short history will be confirmed by the nurse
  2. The result of the first treatment provided by the doctor in clinic will be assessed
  3. It will be checked that you were comfortable that further treatment is provided
  4. Treatment and advice on after care will be repeated

At each visit:

  1. Progress or problems will be discussed
  2. The area treated will be assessed
  3. the next treatment will be discussed and provided

Please remember that the likely side effects are:

  1. Redness.
  2. Swelling over 24 hours.
  3. Blistering - either normal or blood blister.  The blister can be pricked if necessary.

Advice on caring for the treated area includes:

  1. Keep the area clean
  2. The area can get wet, and soap can be used
  3. The area can be covered with a plaster if wished

What happens next?

A course of treatment may require up to six visits at three week intervals. At the end of that time you will be discharged back to the care of your GP. Cryosurgery does not suit all patients and does not always provide a successful treatment. Some patients may choose to stop treatment after just a small number of treatments and some problems may fail to clear even after a full course of treatment.

Find out more on cryosurger by visiting this website