Cryosurgery is an in-office procedure for the removal of benign and premalignant skin lesions. Cryosurgery (also called cryotherapy) is the use of extreme cold produced by liquid nitrogen (or argon gas) to destroy abnormal tissue. After cryosurgery, the frozen tissue thaws and dissolves and forms a scab.
Cryosurgery is best suited for use in patients with light skin and for treatment of lesions in most non–hair-bearing areas of the body. Spray methods include the timed spot freeze technique, the rotary or spiral pattern, and the paintbrush method. Cryosurgery requires little time. Other advantages of this treatment include a short preparation time, low risk of infection, and minimal wound care. In addition, cryosurgery requires no expensive supplies or injectable anesthesia, and the patient does not have to return for suture removal. Skin lesions often can be treated in a single session, although some require several treatments.