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Molluscum Freezing (Molluscum Cryotherapy | Liquid Nitrogen)

molluscum freezing cryotherapyThe 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.

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