Molluscum Freezing (Molluscum
Cryotherapy | Liquid
The use of liquid nitrogen or cryotherapy
is a destructive form of therapy for molluscum
contagiosum. With this procedure, the skin lesions
are destroyed by direct "freezing."
Liquid nitrogen is a substance that is pure nitrogen in a
liquid state. The type used in molluscum freezing is
around -196°C (or -321°F). This is the same type of
therapy that is used to treat warts and pre-skin cancers.
Molluscum freezing is an office
procedure that is performed by a physcian. While several
other cyogenic substances are used, the most successful results
are with liquid nitrogen. The liquid nitrogen is applied
directly to the skin lesions. Traditionally this was done
with a Q-tip with the doctor moving back and forth from the
skin to the container. More recently, the liquid nitrogen
is administered with the use of a Cry-Ac "gun" in
which it is sprayed onto the lesions. This newer approach
allows for a rapid freeze and a slower thaw which is the
optimal approach for successful treatment.
Molluscum cryotherapy has the advantage of
being quick and not requiring any further therapy or attention
after the actually feezing is complete. The treatment
does result a burning or stinging sensation for the duration of
the spray and then during the thaw period. Typically,
after the thaw is complete, pain is unlikely.
Following molluscum liquid nitrogen
treatment, the treated areas get red and swell a bit, then
develop a scab and eventually fall off. This process
takes about two weeks and may leave redness, pinkness, or
occasionally lighter or darker skin in the treated area.
Because of the discomfort and potential for mild scarring or
discoloration, molluscum cryotherapy is more ideal for those
with just a few lesions or those with larger molluscum that are
unresponsive to other therapies.
Back to Molluscum