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Cryotherapy works by freezing part of the skin with liquid nitrogen. As the frozen cells defrost they are killed and after a few days they will drop off. We can treat warts and skin tags with liquid nitrogen.

A cryojet, used to deliver the liquid nitrogen over the desired part of skin

A cryojet, used to deliver the liquid nitrogen over part of skin.

Will it hurt?

You may feel some stinging or a burning sensation during the treatment and it will feel very cold. The area often feels numb, but will soon settle down. You may feel a little sore for a while after the procedure.

What happens after the treatment?

A few hours after spraying you may see some colour change, and the wart or skin tag may become dark, or red and swollen.

If you have any pain after the treatment, you can take a painkiller, such as paracetamol, at the recommended dose.

In some cases, a blister may form or you may find you develop a crust over the area treated. Cover the area with a small adhesive dressing. This will usually peel or drop off after 7 to 10 days. A small blister should go by itself. If the blister is large and painful a nurse could pop it for you with a sterile needle.

You may develop an infection after the treatment and you may need to see your GP in case you need an antibiotic cream.

If the treatment site becomes very painful, inflamed or infected, please seek medical advice from your GP or contact the dermatology team.

Will it scar?

If you have only had a light spray it is unlikely you will scar. People with dark skin are likely to be let with a scar with permanent, pale or darker colours developing. If you do have dark skin, cryotherapy should not be used unless there is no other option and treatment is essential.

Contact us

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the dermatology team on 0114 226 7850.

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Please note: this is a generic information sheet relating to care at Sheffield Children’s NHS FT. These details may not reflect treatment at other hospitals. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professionals’ instructions. If this resource relates to medicines, please read it alongside the medicine manufacturer’s patient information leaflet. If this information has been translated into another language from English, efforts have been made to maintain accuracy, but there may still be some translation errors. If you are unsure about any of the guidance in this resource or have specific questions about how it relates to your child, always ask your healthcare professional for further advice.

Resource number: DM7

Resource Type: Article

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