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Care of Skin After Cryosurgery

By Sandra Ketcham ; Updated July 18, 2017

Cryosurgery is a medical procedure that involves applying a cold substance, typically liquid nitrogen, to the skin to freeze and destroy benign or malignant skin lesions. In most cases, cryosurgery is performed on an outpatient basis, and you may need multiple treatments over the course of several weeks or months. Recovery is generally uncomplicated, but infection, scarring, pigmentation changes, and numbness may develop following cryosurgery. Proper care of your wound is essential to minimize these risks.

Leave your wound area exposed to air for the first 24 hours following your procedure, unless otherwise instructed by your doctor.

Clean your wound with antibacterial soap and warm water as soon as your doctor gives you permission to do so. You can remove scabs and crusted areas by wetting a sterile gauze pad with hydrogen peroxide and then gently rubbing it on your wound.

Replace your bandage immediately after cleaning your wound, and keep your wound covered until healing is complete. In some cases, you may need to wear a hydroactive bandage for the first few days or weeks following your cryosurgery procedure. This bandage contains a medication designed to speed healing and prevent infection.

Prevent infection in broken blisters by cleaning the area with antibacterial soap twice each day. Ohio State University recommends covering the spot with a small amount of petroleum jelly before applying a fresh bandage.

Take any medicines prescribed by your treating doctor, such as pain medications and antibiotics. You can take over-the-counter acetaminophen every three to four hours for mild pain.

Follow up with your doctor as scheduled, and call before your appointment if you develop multiple blisters, swelling, bleeding, redness or discharge in or near the wound site. Call your doctor right away if you develop a fever or increased pain. Seek emergency medical assistance if you experience severe bleeding.

Tips

Small wounds generally take two to three weeks to heal, while larger wounds may require a month or more of recovery, according to Drugs.com.

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