Dermatology For Animals Blog
Dermatology for Animals is proud to announce that we now offer cryosurgery at several of our locations. In excitement at being able to offer this to our clients, we wanted to share with you a little about what cryosurgery is and how it may be helpful for your pet.
What is cryosurgery? Cryosurgery is the use of locally-applied cold therapy to treat many types of skin tumors or lumps. Since the 1960’s, cryosurgery has gained popularity in both the veterinary and human medical fields as an alternative to traditional surgery for certain cancerous and non-cancerous skin tumors. Have you ever gone to your dermatologist and gotten something “frozen off”? That’s cryosurgery! As cancer is currently the major cause of pet animal death in the United States, and as skin tumors are the most common and second most common tumor types in dogs and cats, respectively, cryosurgery can be an important and effective therapy in appropriate patients.
Did you know?
The use of cold as a medical therapy has been employed for more than 4000 years. Cold therapy was used by the Egyptians’ to decrease inflammation and treat injuries in 2500 B.C., by Hippocrates as an analgesic in 460 B.C., and by Napoleon to stop post-amputation bleeding. By the 20th century, physicians were using cold therapy to treat human skin lesions such as warts, among others. The prototype for the cryosurgery unit was developed in 1907. The 1960’s and subsequent decades brought the modern advances that have led to the handheld units we know today.
What are the principles behind cryosurgery? The underlying principle of cryosurgery is that a cryogen (at Dermatology for Animals, we use liquid nitrogen) is applied directly onto the skin to cause a local area of skin to freeze. After a few cycles of freezing to low temperatures and thawing, the local area of skin and surrounding tissuesbecome damaged or destroyed. When this technique is applied to a tumor, the tumor becomes damagedand, over time, quite literally dies.
What do I need to know about cryosurgery?
- A major advantage of cryosurgery is that your pet will not need general anesthesia to get his skin tumor removed. Of course we still give a local numbing agent and some pain relievers to make sure your pet is comfortable and happy the entire time.
- Because we don’t use general anesthesia, tumors or lumps can be treated the same day as an out-patient procedure.
- For many tumor types, cryosurgery may carry lower risk of complications, less pain, and quicker healing times than some traditional surgical techniques.
- Cryosurgery is not appropriate for every tumor, so be sure to ask your dermatologist if your pet’s tumor is the right type for this treatment.
If you have a pet with a skin lump that you want removed, talk to us and ask if your pet is right for cryosurgery!
Written by: Carine Laporte, VMD