Pros and Cons of Liquid Nitrogen Skin Treatments
posted on 5/22/2009
If you are looking for wart removal or pre-cancer growth removal treatments, your dermatologist may recommend a liquid nitrogen treatment where the skin is frozen with liquid nitrogen gas so that it completely destroys the skin growth and cells. Liquid nitrogen skin treatments can be mildly uncomfortable, but offer several benefits for skin conditions that cannot be treated with conventional methods. Here’s a close look at how liquid nitrogen treatments work, and what the key benefits and drawbacks of this procedure are:
How Liquid Nitrogen Skin Treatments Work
Liquid nitrogen skin treatments are typically applied using a liquefied gas spray; this liquid is applied directly onto the skin, and begins to freeze the skin cells within minutes. There is some mild stinging and burning involved during the application process, but this typically subsides within a few hours. After about two to four weeks, the treated area will begin to swell, blister, and then will eventually fall off. This remaining skin will appear white and soft, and it can take months, or in some cases years, for the skin to regrow in the treated area.
Liquid nitrogen skin treatments are most effective for removing warts and pre-cancerous growths that are resistant to other methods of treatment. The skin typically becomes tighter during the healing process, and will begin to crust as it heals. It’s important that the patient does not peel or touch the scab, because this can cause permanent damage to the tissues that are trying to heal.
Benefits of Liquid Nitrogen Skin Treatments
There are several benefits of liquid nitrogen skin treatments, but the procedure is not designed for all skin problems. Key benefits include:
Quick and easy treatment process
Little to no risk of damage to the surrounding tissue
Complete removal of warts or lesions
Minimal damage to the skin after healing is complete
Pain can be managed with topical treatments and painkillers
Drawbacks of Liquid Nitrogen Skin Treatments
While liquid nitrogen skin treatments do offer numerous benefits, there are some drawbacks for undergoing this procedure. These include:
Extreme darkening or lightening of the treated area, which can be permanent
Significant discomfort during the healing process; in some cases, this cannot be managed with topical ointments
Extended healing time for very deep scars or lesions
Potential for infection during the healing process
Potential for infection after the blister falls off; the skin must be managed with Polysporin ointments and kept clear of make-up and skincare products
Potential for failure
In cases where liquid nitrogen is being used to remove a precancerous growth and it fails to work, surgery may be required.
Overall, liquid nitrogen treatments continue to be one of the most effective treatments for wart removal, pre-cancerous growth removal, and other dermatologic procedures that require extensive removal of skin tissues.
Consult with a dermatologist in your area to find out if you are a good candidate for a liquid nitrogen treatments, and to weigh the pros and cons of the procedure.