What is Cryotherapy and What Conditions Can it Be Used to Treat?

If you’re curious about innovative therapeutic treatments, cryotherapy should be on your radar. It’s a fascinating method with diverse benefits, from treating skin conditions to certain types of cancer. But what exactly is cryotherapy? And more importantly, what conditions can it help treat? 

Let’s delve into these chilly depths together and uncover some answers. Prepare to uncover a world where freezing temperatures offer promising therapeutic solutions to patients.


What is Cryotherapy? 

Cryotherapy is a therapeutic treatment that involves the use of extremely cold temperatures to destroy abnormal tissue. It’s a minimally invasive procedure when used on visible skin lesions by dermatologists, but it can be invasive if the surgeon needs access to internal tissue.

Cryotherapy is delivered using various cryogens. Liquid nitrogen is the most common and the coldest, reaching temperatures of -320.8°F. At this temperature, cryotherapy can destroy cancer tissue. However, carbon dioxide snow and dimethyl ether, and propane are more often used to get rid of less lethal skin conditions, such as skin tags, warts, and precancerous tissue. 

What Conditions Can Be Treated by Cryotherapy?

Using cryotherapy for cancer is very common, but cryotherapy can also be used to treat precancerous cells and benign skin conditions. Here are ways doctors use cryotherapy. 

Actinic Keratoses

Cryotherapy can be employed for treating actinic keratoses. This condition results from long-term sun exposure, causing rough, scaly patches on the skin. A few minutes of this cold treatment can help eliminate these lesions by freezing and destroying them.

Seborrhoeic Keratoses

Seborrhoeic keratoses are noncancerous (benign) skin growths that commonly occur in older adults and are a common sign of aging. Cryotherapy uses extreme cold to freeze and remove these abnormal cells without surgery, offering an effective solution with minimal risks.

Viral Warts

Viral warts are benign lesions caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV). Cryotherapy is often used to treat viral warts by freezing the protein inside wart cells, which makes them burst open and die off. The dead cells then get replaced by healthier new ones from underneath.

Molluscum Contagiosum

Molluscum contagiosum is a relatively common viral infection of the skin, causing small pearl-like bumps (papules). It is more common in children and for adults in warm climates. Cryotherapy offers an effective way to get rid of these bumps without scarring or surgery.

Skin Tags

Often found in folds or creases of the skin, skin tags are benign and usually harmless but can become uncomfortable over time, especially in areas people commonly shave. Applying cryotherapy freezes them at their base, ensuring they fall off naturally after some days.

Bone Cancer

In selected cases of bone cancer like osteosarcoma or chondrosarcoma, cryotherapy can offer palliative care, relieving pain per improved localized tumor control. This treatment is usually offered alongside hormone therapy, immunotherapy, radiation therapy, or chemotherapy. 

Cervical, Liver, and Prostate Cancer

In instances of cervical liver and prostate cancers, cryosurgery is proving to be valuable as a minimally invasive alternative. Cryosurgery can be great for managing conditions where other treatments have been ineffective or aren’t suitable due to patient health matters.

Precancerous Skin Conditions

While cryotherapy shouldn’t be used once a person has developed melanoma, it can be useful for treating precancerous skin conditions. If a tissue or lesion looks like it could turn cancerous, a dermatologist may recommend a round of cryotherapy treatment to prevent further issues. 

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Precancerous Cells in the Cervix

Along with treating cervical cancer, cryotherapy is also beneficial for treating precancerous cells in the cervix. If a doctor or surgeon can find these cells at the lower end of the uterus, there’s a good chance that this intervention could prevent cancer from starting or duplicating. 


Retinoblastoma is a rare form of eye cancer, mostly affecting children under five years old, but it has a high recovery rate. Cryotherapy has been utilized in unique instances to freeze tumors within the retina, thus preserving vision and curtailing potential disease progression.


In Conclusion… 

As we’ve discovered, cryotherapy offers treatment for numerous ailments and conditions. This technology brings an exciting frontier of non-invasive healthcare that you could explore. 

If you’re intrigued by the possibilities cryotherapy can offer, why not reach out to local specialists or do some additional research? Don’t just stay cold to the idea. Embrace this chill future of therapeutic treatments where freezing temperatures equal warm health benefits. Remember, knowledge is power when it comes to your health, so keep exploring and staying informed!


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