1. What happens during liquid nitrogen treatment?
During treatment, the skin turns white. This lasts about 10 seconds and the white colour disappears when the skin thaws.
The skin turns red immediately after treatment.
There may be some pain for about 10 minutes following the procedure. Longer duration of pain is unusual but may occur.
If you feel weak or dizzy after treatment, lie down with your feet up or sit down and place your head between your knees for a few minutes until you feel better.
A blister usually develops by the evening or the next day.
Sometimes, the blister becomes haemorrhagic and is filled with dark coloured fluid.
A haemorrhage blister
2. Skin care following liquid nitrogen treatment
Leave the roof of the blister intact.
If the blister is large, it may be pricked and drained using a sterile needle. The needle may be sterilised by heating it over a flame. Allowing it to cool before pricking the blister.
If the blister is left alone, it will form a black scab in a few days.
Do not peel the scab. Allow it to fall off on its own.
Apply Nuban ointment to the blistered area twice a day for 5 days or until complete healing takes place.
Vitasure repair may be applied over the treated areas to sooth the skin and aid healing.
The treated area may heal with a white scar. This is safer than a skin cancer which could otherwise develop.
3. What is Liquid Nitrogen used for?
Solar keratoses affecting the hand - from years of excessive sun exposure. They are pre-cancerous
A seborrhoeic keratosis is benign (non-cancerous) and responds well to liquid nitrogen
Solar lentigines are not cancerous but indicate how much sun exposure occurred throughout life
Viral wart. Treatment is with liquid nitrogen, electrocautery, various topical agents, bleomycin injections and tuberculin antigen immunotherapy
Keloid shoulder following acne scars
Keloid treated with intralesional liquid nitrogen
Molluscum contagiosum is a viral infection producing small bumps with a central umbilication
4. Why treat solar keratoses with liqiuid nitrogen?
Solar keratoses are pre-cancerous and could progress to squamous cell carcinoma if left untreated. Which keratoses will progress cannot be predicted. It is therefore necessary to treat all solar keratoses.