CryoPen™ is a state of the art treatment that uses extreme cold, or cryotherapy, to painlessly and safely destroy unwanted, benign and superficial lesions on the surface of the skin, such as warts, skin tags, verrucae, milia, cherry angiomas, scars, and resistant hyperpigmentation. It has four main benefits over other treatments;
- CryoPen therapy takes far less time;
(with treatment sessions lasting less than 2 minutes)
- No anaesthesia is required and it is virtually painless
- It is one of the least invasive lesion treatments in the market
- It is used in the treatment of virtually any benign skin lesion
How does it work?
CryoPen therapy is a medical procedure that involves the application of nitrous oxide gas ejected under high pressure on to the skin. The gas is very cold which helps to freeze and destroy any benign lesions.
During the application, the tip of the CryoPen reaches -89°C. The reason for this is to create a thermal shock at the region where the gas is pointed by causing a rapid drop in temperatures. The temperature drop has the effect of crystallising the fluid contents of the targeted cells, turning them into ice shards, resulting in the destruction of skin lesions as the membrane surrounding the treated cells is ruptured and destroyed.
The penetration of the cold is approximately 1mm per 5 seconds of treatment, so a 2mm sized lesion would take 10 seconds of nitrous oxide gas to treat.
During treatment, you may see a frost or ice-field on top of the lesion. This shouldn’t cause any worry as the frost usually goes away within a few seconds. A common technique called freeze-thaw-freeze can sometimes be used to freeze, then defrost a frozen lesion, and then freeze it again. Here, the frozen lesion is allowed to rest for 30 seconds and then a second treatment applied whereby the tissue will freeze faster second time around and destruction of the lesion is more guaranteed.
After treatment, it is advisable to leave the area uncovered as this speeds up the healing process. However, your practitioner may apply a simple dressing or plaster if there is a chance that the lesion may get rubbed or aggravated in any way.
Treatment is safe for all (including children and young adults)
How long does it last?
Clinical data shows that the results are permanent after one or two treatments. Some types of skin lesions may return in other places if you are prone to such manifestations.
Possible side effects
CryoPen therapy has been established to be very safe. However, be prepared for the following:
• Slight discomfort during the procedure – As with most lesion treatments, you’ll feel some slight discomfort while CryoPen is being applied. The discomfort usually feels like the pressure of a pen being pressed against your skin. However, unless you have a problem such as a skin allergy, it will only last a few seconds. Generally, no topical anaesthesia (or numbing cream) is required before treatment.
• Mild stinging following the procedure – Immediately after the procedure, you will likely experience mild to medium stinging that may last for several minutes to an hour. Again, don’t be too worried about the stinging as it goes away naturally.
• Sores and blisters – Rarely, the skin where the lesion was treated, usually becomes sore, red, weepy and blistered. It may sting for an hour or so after treatment. Often a scab will form in the following days. This is common where deep freezing is used and may cause pain immediately after the treatment. The practitioner may recommend topical or oral pain killers to relieve discomfort if required. It is important not to scratch or pick at a scab as this can lead to scarring.
What is it used to treat?
CryoPen treats benign skin lesions on the surface of the skin, many of which are no longer able to be treated by doctors under the NHS, due to their cosmetic nature. More complex lesions should be examined first and treated by a suitably qualified medical professional, so you may wish to speak to your GP about them first. It can treat lesions on the face, scalp and body including:
- Skin tags
- Age/liver spots
- Cherry angioma
- Viral verrucae (warts)
- Solar lentigo (sun spots)
- Other pigmentation
- Plantar warts
- Condyloma (genital or anal warts)
- Popular nevi (moles, birthmarks etc)
- Contagiosum (water warts)
The treated lesions should completely heal within 1 to 4 weeks and scabs formed around the lesion will shed after a week to 10 days. Lesions on the leg take the longest time to heal. Some people may develop a temporary change in skin colour (pigmentation) or slight scarring in the treated area – pigment change is more common in darker skin types and may not be temporary.
Hair follicles can be damaged by cryotherapy so if the lesion is within an area of hair, such as on the scalp, then a small amount of hair loss may occur.
Rarely there is potential for superficial nerve damage, depending on the location of the treated lesion. This may cause a temporary feeling of numbness or tingling in the area which may last for a few months.
If a treated lesion does not heal as expected, or there is pain or redness after a few days, then you should contact the practitioner again as these could be signs of an infection.