Cryosurgery in Dermatology

  • Setrag A. Zacarian


Nearly one-half of all integumentary disorders that confront the dermatologist necessitate the use of some form of physical modality for effective management. Liquid nitrogen has been the ideal refrigerant. It is readily available, nonexplosive, and extremely cold, having a boiling point of -196 C. This last characteristic is most essential if one is to treat malignant tumors of the skin. Dry ice (CO2,-78.5 C) and instruments that employ liquid nitrous oxide (LN2O,-89.5 C) are effective only for the treatment of benign and precancerous growths, including the management of acne. The anatomic depth of skin cancers precludes coolants with a low boiling point (Table 26-1). The cryogen must be sufficiently cold, as with liquid nitrogen, to overcome the microcirculatory barrier of the integument and allow the ice front to develop and extend into the subcutaneous tissue and beyond.


Skin Cancer Basal Cell Carcinoma Acne Scar Medial Canthus Seborrheic Keratose 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Allington HV: Liquid nitrogen in the treatment of skin disorders. Calif Med 72: 153, 1960Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Beard C, Sullivan JH: Cryosurgery of eyelid disorders including malignant tumors. In Zacarian SA (ed): Cryosurgical Advances in Dermatology and Tumors of the Head and Neck, Springfield, I11, Thomas, 1977Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Brodthagen H: Local freezing of the skin by carbon dioxide snow. Acta Derm Venereol (Stockh) 41 (Suppl 44): 9, 1961Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Cahan WG: Cryosurgery of malignant and benign tumors. Fed Proc 24: S241, 1965PubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Cooper IS: Cryogenic surgery of basal ganglia. JAMA 181: 600, 1962PubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Cooper IS, Grossman F, Gorek E: Cryogenic congelation and necrosis of cancer. J Am Geriatr Soc 10: 2899, 1962Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Fraunfelder FT, et al: The future of cryosurgery for periocular and ocular lesions. J Dermatol Surg, 3: 422 1977Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Fraunfelder FT, Wallace TR, Farris HE, et al: The role of cryosurgery in external ocular and periocular disease. Trans Am Acad Ophthalmol Otolaryngol in press 1978Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Gage AA, Emmings F: Treatment of human tumors by freezing. Cryobiology 2: 24, 1965Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Graham GF: Cryotherapy against acne vulgaris yields “good to excellent results.” Dermatol Practice 5 (3): 2, 1972Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Grimmett RH: Liquid nitrogen therapy. Histological observations. Arch Dermatol 83: 563, 1961PubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Hall AF: Advantages and limitations of liquid nitrogen therapy of skin lesions. Arch Dermatol 83: 562, 1961Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Kreyberg L: Stasis and necrosis. Scand J Clin Lab Invest 15 (Suppl 71): 1, 1963Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Kreyberg L: Local freezing. Proc R Soc Lond [Biol] 147: 546, 1957CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Mazur P: Causes of injury in frozen and thawed cells. Fed Proc 24: S175, 1965PubMedGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Meryman HT: The interpretation of freezing rates in biological materials. Cryobiology 2: 165, 1966PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Meryman HT: Mechanics of freezing in living cells and tissues. Science 124: 124, 1956CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Rinfret AP: Thermal history. Cryobiology 2 (4): 171, 1966PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Stone D, Zacarian SA, DiPeri C: Comparative studies of mammalian normal and cancer cells subjected to cryogenic temperatures in vitro. J Cryosurg 2 (1): 43, 1969Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Torre D: Cryosurgery of premalignant and malignant skin lesions. Cutis 8: 123, 1961Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Torre D: Cryosurgery in dermatology. In von Leden H, Cahan G (eds): Cryogenics in Surgery. Flushing, Medical Examination Publishing, 1971, pp 500–529Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    White AC: Possibilities of liquid air to the physician. JAMA 36: 426, 1901Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    Whitehouse HH: Liquid air in dermatology, its indications and limitations. JAMA 49: 371, 1907Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    Zacarian SA: Cryosurgery of Tumors of the Skin and Oral Cavity. Springfield, I11, Thomas, 1973, Chap 1Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    Zacarian SA: Cryosurgical Advances in Dermatology and Tumors of the Head and Neck. Springfield, I11, Thomas, 1977Google Scholar
  26. 26.
    Zacarian SA: Histopathology of skin cancer following cryosurgery. Int Surg 54: 255, 1970PubMedGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    Zacarian SA, Adham MI: Cryogenic temperature studies of human skin temperature recordings at 2 mm human skin depth following application with liquid nitrogen. J Invest Dermatol 48: 7, 1967PubMedGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    Zacarian SA, Stone D, Clater M: Effects of cryogenic temperatures on the microcirculation in the golden hamster cheek pouch. Cryobiology 7: 27, 1970PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag New York Inc. 1978

Authors and Affiliations

  • Setrag A. Zacarian

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations