Practical procedures

Perishing with cold: a GP’s guide to cryotherapy

Christopher J Quirk

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Abstract

Cryotherapy is an invaluable tool in treating certain skin lesions. A diagnosis is essential before it is undertaken, and it is most effective for superficial lesions.

Article Extract

Many general practitioners and most dermatologists use cryotherapy on a daily basis to produce quick, effective results with usually only minor discomfort to the patient. The use of cold to treat skin lesions dates from 1899, when Dr A.C. White, a New York dermatologist, dipped a cotton-tipped applicator in liquid air and successfully treated warts, keratoses and other lesions. The liquid nitrogen spray was introduced in the 1960s by Dr Setrag Zacarian, a dermatologist in Boston, and the popularity of the treatment modality has since spread worldwide.

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