Is cryotherapy for keloids painful? What happens after cryotherapy?

April 30, 2021     

There are many factors to consider before suggesting cryotherapy for keloids. The cryotherapy procedure is slightly painful, particularly in large keloids, and it is one of the limiting factors in treating keloids with cryotherapy. The level of discomfort and pain depends on the keloid location and its size. But keep in mind that the pain is temporary and stays only for a few hours, which is normal and manageable. 

Read: Cryotherapy For Keloids?

Cryotherapy for small keloids (half an inch – 1.25 cm in diameter) might cause some pain; it is fairly manageable. Keeping the patient busy and distracted after treatment for several hours is required to control the pain from treating small keloids. If necessary, patients are often suggested taking Tylenol or Ibuprofen to manage pain after cryotherapy treatment for small keloids.

Treatment of keloids larger than half an inch (>1.25 cm) causes more pain than smaller keloids. However, the discomfort or pain that results from cryotherapy in treating larger keloids can also be managed with proper care. 

As we said, pain due to cryotherapy for keloids is short-lived and disappears within 8-12 hours. The intensity of pain after the procedure will be at its peak for 1 or 2 hours. For some people, simple local anaesthesia is enough to overcome the pain. However, the pain tolerance is varied from patient to patient, some patients take medication like acetaminophen, Ibuprofen, or sometimes codeine is used to manage pain.

While applying cryotherapy to larger lesions, our dermatologist at Cosmosure clinic follows proper planning and pain control measures. Though a high dosage of narcotic pain medications might manage pain, we use a better alternative medication called “Exparel”, which will induce durability of anaesthesia.

What Happens After Cryotherapy?

After the cryotherapy procedure, the keloid and the skin around it swell up, forming a large blister twice the size of the keloid or even larger. Use cotton gauze and paper tapes to cover the keloid area after treatment for the next few days. The enlarged keloid slowly oozes out, producing a pale yellow, sometimes bloody fluid. The degree of swelling and oozing is based upon the keloid size treated. This takes around 5-7 days, and after the keloid tissue dries out, forming a dark crust. From that moment, the dark-coloured crust gradually shrinks.

After 2 to 3 weeks, the edges of the crust begin to separate from the skin underneath. Once the entire crust separates from the skin, it falls out completely. This is observed around 4 to 6 weeks after cryotherapy for keloid. It is recommended not to pull the crust forcibly from the skin because it results in extreme pain. 

Keep the treated area clean and dry. Use a cotton swab or tampon to clean the crust edges and the skin area that comes in contact with the keloid. Use water or mild soap solution or hydrogen peroxide to clean the crust edges. Don’t scratch or irritate the keloid, and don’t use razors on or near the keloid after treatment.

Read: Cryotherapy Treatment for Keloids in Hyderabad at Cosmosure Clinic, Best Dermatology Hospital in Madhapur

Sometimes, the patients suggested a follow-up consultation within a few days, or a week post keloid treatment with cryotherapy, to evaluate treatment efficiency. Dr Swapna Priya, a Dermatologist and cryotherapy specialist at Cosmosure Clinic in Hyderabad, will explain the procedure during your initial consultation.

Once the crust falls out of the skin, the keloid becomes smaller, which means the keloid is ready for further treatment. Most keloids, especially larger ones, require 2 – 3 treatment sessions to gain desirable results. Most of the patients can return to their normal works once the scab falls off. The underlying skin looks pink after the crust separates. Gradually, the treated area mixes with skin colour over time.

Keloids of any type and size can be treated with cryotherapy. But the effectiveness and number of cryotherapy sessions needed in treating keloids depend on various factors, including the size, site, and thickness of the keloids. To know detailed information about the treatment process, the cost of the cryotherapy treatment for keloids or any other information, consult our best dermatologist in Hyderabad.