Cutaneous cryosurgery

Ethan E. Zimmerman, Paul Crawford

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations

Abstract

Cutaneous cryosurgery refers to localized application of freezing temperatures to achieve destruction of skin lesions. It can be used to treat a broad range of benign and premalignant skin conditions, and certain malignant skin conditions, with high cure rates. Cellular destruction is accomplished by delivery of the cryogen via dipstick, probe, or spray techniques. It is widely used in primary care because of its safety, effectiveness, low cost, ease of use, good cosmetic results, and lack of need for anesthesia. Cryosurgery is as effective as alternative therapies for most cases of molluscum contagiosum, dermatofbromas, keloids, and plantar or genital warts. It is a more effective cure for common warts than salicylic acid or observation. Cryosurgery is generally the treatment of choice for actinic keratosis. Contraindications to cryosurgery include cryofbrinogenemia, cryoglobulinemia, Raynaud disease, agammaglobulinemia, and multiple myeloma. Complications from cryosurgery include hypopigmentation and alopecia, and can be avoided by limiting freeze times to less than 30 seconds. Referral to a dermatologist should be considered in cases of diagnostic uncertainty or for treatment of skin cancer, which requires larger amounts of tissue destruction, resulting in higher complicat ion rates.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1118-1124
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Family Physician
Volume86
Issue number12
StatePublished - 2012
Externally publishedYes

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