Some skin conditions, including some skin cancers, can be treated with cryosurgery, a procedure that painlessly freezes and removes skin tags, tumors, and other skin disorders from pets.


What is Cryosurgery?


Cryosurgery uses super-cooled fluids like liquid nitrogen to painlessly and instantly freeze small portions of unwanted skin tags or tumors. The procedure has been used in humans and in pets for many years now and Brookfield Animal Hospital has some of the most advanced equipment to deliver the service.  Cryosurgery is tolerated very well by pets, sometimes requires no anesthesia, and can be completed in minutes.  Treated tissue dissolves or falls off within a few weeks after treatment.  There is typically no open wound or scar and risk of post-procedure infection is very low.


What Kind of Conditions Are Treated With Cryosurgery?


Skin tags, tumors, and some cancers can be treated with cryosurgery. If the area is small, your pet may not require anesthesia. Cryosurgery on larger areas may cause pets some pain, so general anesthesia is administered. The procedure is less invasive and, because no open wound is created by the procedure, risk of infection after the procedure is low.


Does Cryosurgery Hurt?


Pets usually experience a few seconds of mild stinging during the treatment and, in some cases, there is a brief amount of residual stinging after the procedure is completed. Before the procedure, your pet will be individually assessed for risk of pain so that we can make a plan to perform the cryosurgery with minimal discomfort.


What To Expect Immediately After Cryosurgery


Two-to-six hours after the procedure, you may notice a red area around the cryosurgery site. After four-to-six days, the tissue may turn a dark color.  Seven-to-ten days after the procedure, the treated skin area will slough away and a scab will form.  Complete healing of the site can be expected in two-to-three weeks.  There is usually no scar after the procedure. On rare occasions, a blister forms at the cryosurgery site soon after the procedure is completed, but this goes away in a few days.


Home Care For Cryosurgery Patients


Check the cryosurgery site every day.  While some redness is expected, on the whole the site should not be inflamed or painful. It should not bleed or ooze or cause your pet discomfort of any kind.  If you see these signs, be sure to call us for an appointment.  All cryosurgery patients should be seen 3 weeks after the procedure for a free follow-up consultation with one of our medical team members. If the procedure wasn’t wholly affective at eliminating the target tissue, a second cryosurgery procedure will be done at the site during your follow up visit.