Pros and Cons of Cryosurgery (Freezing Moles)

Pros and Cons of Cryosurgery (Freezing Moles)

Freezing moles and warts is a method which has been around for over a hundred years. It is a non-surgical procedure designed to safely remove unwanted skin lesions. By freezing the tissue of the mole, the skin cells within the mole are killed and break down.

What to Expect

liquid nitrogenAlso known as cryotherapy, freezing moles is a simple and straight forward procedure. The doctor will apply liquid nitrogen to the mole using either a swab, spray or an injection depending on the size and position of the mole. This must be done in a precise manner, as the ultimate goal of the liquid nitrogen is to destroy skin tissue therefore it is vital that the surrounding healthy skin does not come into contact with the liquid nitrogen.

After the procedure, the mole may become inflamed and there could be some redness. This will often be accompanied by a stinging sensation which may cause some discomfort, however pain killers will be prescribed to manage this.

The healing process generally takes around 10-15 days. During this time the area must be kept covered and cleaned regularly. If a blister does occur, this is natural and it should be left alone. In most cases any blistering will disappear within five days. Should the blisters persist for longer than this time, a doctor should be consulted.

Pros

  • Low cost – this technique is considerably cheaper than other more invasive surgical procedures.
  • Only one application of liquid nitrogen is needed to completely remove the mole, unlike laser surgery which takes multiple treatments.
  • Low risk of scarring – Although scarring can sometimes occur, it is not often.
  • A similar procedure is used on cancerous tumors; therefor cryotherapy may be an effective way of treating cancerous moles, although as always, it is better to consult a doctor before any treatment is taken.
  • Non-invasive

Cons

  • Nerve damage – in extremely rare cases where the nerves are very close to the surface of the skin, damage could occur during the process.
  • Pain – the procedure may cause some stinging although many say that it is not as severe as laser surgery which is considered to be uncomfortable rather than painful.
  • Blistering – an unpleasant sign that things are going well.
  • The treatment is not effective on large flat moles or moles that are deeply rooted beneath the skin.

Although there is less chance of scarring, most people would not opt for this method of mole removal for their face. 

Many people over the years have explored the possibility to carry out the procedure at home as it is quite straight forward. The problem with this is that due to the precision needed for such a technique, there is a great chance that if somebody who is not medically trained carries out the procedure, they are likely to either kill the surrounding skin tissue or miss some of the tissue of the mole. Missing mole tissue will undoubtedly lead to the reappearance of another mole and if that is to be treated in the same way, the risk factor has instantly been doubled. Also the aftercare treatment is very important and should be advised by a doctor. Without this correct aftercare treatment, there is a heightened risk of infection. 

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