Basal Cell Cancer – Cryosurgery

January 7th, 2011

Cryosurgery involves the treatment of Basal Cell Cancers using liquid nitrogen to destroy the Basal Cell Cancer by “freezing” it and I rarely use this technique in both my The Woodlands dermatology and Conroe dermatology offices.  It is considered a rather historic method for treating Basal Cell Cancers as there are many more effective treatment options which have higher cure rates and better cosmetic outcomes.  When cryosurgery is performed on a Basal Cell Cancer, a temperature probe must be inserted into the skin below the Basal Cell Cancer to ensure that a temperature of -50 to -60 degree Celcius is achieved.  Typically, the Basal Cell Cancer must be anesthetized with lideocaine prior to inserting a temperature probe.  Two 30 second freeze-thaw cycles are usually employed with a 3-5mm margin of normal skin treated as the cryosurgery margins.  Cryosurgery should be reserved only for superficial basal cell cancers that are small and well defined.  After treatment with cryosurgery, the skin develops a blister and becomes necrotic with a black eschar/scab.  Over 3-4 weeks, the wound heals with a white circular scar.  The cure rate for cryosurgery is approximately 90-95% in carefully selected Basal Cell Cancers.

Cryosurgery